Tuesday, December 19, 2006

as we know, the campus trees are being rather strangely 'pruned'. in the name of pruning, the contractors are lopping off huge and very unoffending branches from many very old trees, thus damaging them to the extent that they will soon die, and then, of course, they can with legitimate haste chop the whole thing off and take away the wood.

a letter to the registrar is being drafted right now, and awaits as many physical signatures as possible. tintinda or nilanjanadi have copies of where we are to sign.

online, a mail with a chain of signatures may well be sent directly to the registrar and the vice chancellor at the official j.u. address (look here for the addresses). this original dinosaur of computers requests the administrator of this site to please take up from here for the online thingummy.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Natural Born Killers

With the current events in Singur, not to speak of so many current events the world over thats being fed to us in authorized versions for so many yrs now, especially the last five-ten odd ones, not having watched this can leave you with a state of shame for your overlook, at least it did for me. Being a film freak, and someone interested in the political shape of this world (jus' like many other armchair thinking good-for-nothigs I'm sure), I now admit it's been a crime I haven't seen this film so long. It is by far the greatest love story and political film I've ever seen. Period. Yes one of the most fucking perceptive political statements to be put on film ever, right up there with Costa-Gavras' "Z" and Pasolini's "Salo", if not higher, which would be tantamount to saying the highest.
 



"Give me back my broken night, my mirrored room, my secret life
it's lonely here, there's no one left to torture
Give me absolute control over every living soul
And lie beside me, baby, that's an order!
Give me crack and anal sex, take the only tree that's left
and stuff it up the hole in your culture
Give me back the Berlin wall give me Stalin and St Paul
I've seen the future, brother: it is murder.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing Nothing you can measure anymore
The blizzard, the blizzard of the world has crossed the threshold
and it has overturned the order of the soul
When they said REPENT
I wonder what they meant
When they said REPENT
I wonder what they meant."

- Leonard Cohen, 'The Future'

Well the direction is Oliver Stone, and yet the script is Tarantino, and I think that's equally important for this movie. And I'd like to quote from a comment made on IMDB about this angle: "Quentin Tarantino, the reigning postmodernist "King of Cool" who plays with pastiche of pop culture genres, wrote the script for Stone's Natural Born Killers, but then criticized the way the film was directed. Ironically, Tarantino then copied several formal film techniques and innovations straight out of NBK for his later "Kill Bill" films. -- with the key exception that Tarantino continues the tradition of glamorizing violence. The Tarantino crowd sees itself as properly aesthetic and cool, far above the ham-fisted Stone! Creepy isn't it?" That's not really so much a statement on Tarantino the lovably obsessive intertextualising film-geek that he is, as on our publicly accepted perceptions about the medium concerned.

But I can't pin it down to who are the great minds at work and who does what with what degree of honourable mention yadayadayada like we do with most creative outputs, thereby making an individualistic hogwash of it all and insulating it in a real tight candy-shell so it's safe and fit for the world's consumption. Cos it's far more than that, and it reaches you at your junked-up, twisted, by-now-shoulda'-been-apathetic-n-jaded nerves like a baby's first blink, and it hits such a right chord. If anything we can talk about, it's the music, cos it sums up the the visual content. you got Bob Dylan singin' "You Belong To Me" (and he can make you forget Dean "cool" Martin just like that), you got Peter Gabriel and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and most of all like a running refrain, you got four amazing prophecies from the great Leonard Cohen's "The Future." It's easier to talk bout such things, than to talk bout things which we are all in a consensus to be silent about. I'm jus wondering, how the hell did they ever get this released, and how did consumerism and the 'empty time-bubble of capital' manage to digest even this (and this digestion has been well-covered, both by the print media and the academia), and yet not Salo? And yet this speaks far more direct and brutal. I jus wished I'd seen this many many times already.





"We asked for signs, the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed, the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood of every government --
signs for all to see.

You can add up the parts, but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march, there is no drum
Every heart, every heart to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."

- Leonard Cohen, 'Anthem'

[credit for the quote:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110632/]

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Just something I had to say



Sometimes, perhaps as rarely or as frequently as in fiction/literature/yada-yada, theoretical passages too can give you that slight chill at the pit of your stomach, that fleeting illicit delight in the sudden curfew down the well-lit streets of reason. You are about to step inside the red circle.


'There is always a surprise in store for the anatomy or physiology of any criticism that might think it had mastered the game, surveyed all the threads at once, deluding itself, too, in wanting to look at the text without touching it, without laying a hand on the “object,” without risking – which is the only chance of entering the game, by getting a few fingers caught – the addition of some new thread. Adding, here, is nothing other than giving to read. One must manage to think this out: that this is not a question of embroidering upon a text, unless one considers that to know how to embroider still means to have the ability to follow the given thread. That is, if you follow me, the hidden thread. If reading and writing are one, as is easily thought these days, if reading is writing, this oneness designates neither undifferentiated (con)fusion nor identity at perfect rest; the is that couples reading with writing must rip apart.


One must then, in a single gesture, but doubled, read and write. And that person would have understood nothing of the game who … would feel himself authorized merely to add on; that is, to add any old thing. He would add nothing: the seam wouldn’t hold. Reciprocally, he who through “methodological prudence,” “norms of objectivity,” or “safeguards of knowledge” would refrain form committing anything of himself, would not read at all. The same foolishness, the same sterility, obtains in the “not serious” as in the “serious.” The reading or writing supplement must be rigorously prescribed, but by the necessities of game, by the logic of play, signs to which the system of all textual powers must be accorded and attuned.'


- Jacques Derrida, introductory matter prefacing ‘Plato’s Pharmacy,’ Dissemination.

And then comes the startlingly honest confession. We all know, when we trudge through piles of academic bullshit that’s poured on us every day (since that’s what we are supposed to put up with and speak knowledgably about for the sake of our credits/paychecks at the end of the day), that the best of arguments need no more than a few pages to lay out. The rest is of course the froth, the clerical and mechanical collection of piles of data that create an enormous web of inter-referential excreta manufactured with professional perseverance from the all-too-familiar Societies of Bibliographic Per(e)versions – that permanent fixture along university corridors. But Derrida, in his characteristic irreverence, takes the game up like a challenge, refusing to wear the uniform of disguised academic detachment. He goes on:


'To a considerable degree, we have already said all we meant to say. Our lexicon at any rate is not far from being exhausted. With the exception of this or that supplement, our questions will have nothing more to name but the texture of the text, reading and writing, mastery and play, the paradoxes of supplementarity, and the graphic relations between the living and the dead: within the textual, the textile, and the histological. […]


Since we have already said everything. The reader must bear with us if we continue a while. If we extend ourselves by force of play. If we then write a bit: on Plato, who already said in the Phaedrus that writing can only repeat (itself), that it “always signifies (sÄ“mainei) the same” and that it is a “game” (paidia).'


And then follows the essay proper, ‘Plato’s Pharmacy,’ not as a mere illustrative adjunct, but as the matter proper - the play on the above argument, the game that can take over the rules of the game.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

For fans of anime and manga:

In case someone is a fan of Fushigi Yuugi(Curious Play)/Inu Yasha/UHK/Full Metal Alchemist/Ghost in the shell:SAC/Get Backers/Ragnarok(anime)/Lilim Kiss/RanmaHalf/any other God-forsaken anime or manga worshipped by humanity, please consider sending me a li'l scrap on orkut!!!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

This is as serious as it gets: What is Being?


Being
is a primordial non-being's 'want-to-be'. Non-being's very wanting to come into being constitutes the being as the being of non-being which is the only form in which being can be. Thus, we can give various names to the Lacanian Being:
1. A being lacking in being.
2. Lack-of being's want-to-be.
3. Being in want-of-being where the being is in the wanting.

- Shantanuda, in the first Psychoanalysis class I attended after a month. Poor irregular me!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Profquote

"the MONALISA is a famous sculpture..."---

---------Prof. *******(Eminem)


***this poor soul awaits the day when another 'Dan Brownish masterpiece' (titled The 'Mana'-lisa Code or The 'Mono'-lisa Code perhaps) would hit the stores!!!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Be This Destiny?

Pardon my ignorance, I do not consider it bliss. Has the Blabberwocky finally reverted to what appears to be its destined online abode, that is, Blogspot?

The first post must never go empty, but with a cerebrum that seriously needs a reboot, I am finally at a glaring loss for words. In case this blessed sanctuary for inanity has been turned into a formal gathering (thankfully, without my knowledge), I shall proceed to demonstrate the symptoms that turn up when the Dog-star rages. So if you all would pardon me, I shall rack my rusted Random Access Memory and pray for a bit of randomness.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Blabberwocky

The Blabberwocky

Well, people sometimes ask, from where did man evolve? The Bible says God created Man and Woman in His image..... Darwin professed that Man evolved from apes. Hmmm.... pretty interesting huh? Imagine us wandering through the dense foliage searching indignantly for prey and stalking all those good looking females around.... trying to win their hearts by posing as "Alpha Male".... I guess that's the reason why we, such "advanced" creatures, have rightfully remained the stupidest on the planet.I can't reason as to why mankind, never realises that his purpose of being on earth is not to enjoy its luxury and overuse its resources, but also to be sympathetic to his Mother, who gives, but never gets back! We are nothing but a lousy set of humanoid apes, groping our way through the jungle we call "Life"... and we are lacking the basic amenity for survival, COMMONSENSE!
Still, man moves on, breaking technological boundaries, in search of the perfect answer to his being on this empty and desolate planet.... But hey, what the hell was the question? I won't be going deep into the matter but would love to say that the answer to the question lies deeply embedded in the book by Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hikers' Guide to the Galaxy, where the opening lines blurt out a very perceptive statement which has quizzed the human brain for ages -- DON'T PANIC!
You see, man invented language in an odd way. Probably one day a talking ape comes up to a human and says "Phiii... aaaaaah rrrrr!" and the bloke says "Where?", the bloke gets instantly proud of his ability to speak, since before this if anyone in their group had to say "I have to pee" they wouldn't have had the balls to say so! But incidentally, the man realised he was travelling back in time, in a Time Machine and so figured out that he was actually talking to his great-great-great-great...... great-great-great-great grandfather, who had just invented fire and hadn't realised that his hand got fried in the process! Huh.... so much as to brain power in the Old ages! What this guy couldn't do was to help his great-great-great-great..........great-great-great-great grandfather and his burnt finger, so his ape-like granddad just dipped it in a pot of hot mulligatawny soup and felt relieved, only to take it out and appear shocked at the loss of his sixth finger! The man from now pondered, and finally came to the conclusion that this five finger combination wasn't merely a genetic disposition, but was rather a wrong move by someone who claimed to be his ancestor.
Thankfully the ape died out and a new more evolved species of monkeys became dominant. These beings lived their life in utter grief, since by the time they evolved, half of them realised they took the wrong turn at the Evolution Square! Why was this so? They were brainy guys, and by studying their own kind, they discovered the flaw. They discovered that their skull was excessively big as a result of which the fluid inside the cranium began being soaked by their overtly sized brain, which meant that a few sections of their supercomputer began showing defects and finally a circuit went "poof" and then another and another and so on.... till they realised that only one of their kind was left, that too, a gay one! Unfortunately enough, he cracked his skull, out of sheer boredom in an age of icy weather, with no sign of friends around! Poor guy!
Man evolved again, this time in a successful fashion. This guy produced foodgrains in his backyard, lived in a farmhouse of his own, and had his own pets. What he didn't have was a wife, a car, and a very own currency, because, if he's the only one of his kind, where would he get others to buy it from him? Well, this guy was clever. He called the Women's Suffrage in London and asked for a "single, white female, with no strings attached"! The delivery man came in late as usual, much to the frustration of this patient fellow. Now finally, the story of man's final voyage begins....(Well, sorry for such a detailed INTRODUCTION to the faces(not "faeces"... like the man in the Time Machine's great-great-great-great.... great-great-great-great granddad would have had said) of man's timeless goofups in the journey up to the final descent of Mankind's Latest Developments, a daily, published by Heavenly Express Publications Private Limited, read by the boss of all men, a bearded old fellow we nowadays call God!).

(To be continued.... a several issue story on how and why man "evolved")

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Necessity of Hedonism

Ok, since a certain Erythrocyte seems to be getting bored out here, and no one else has anything to say, and since the same Erythrocyte made me a member here, I thought I'd post something, just to break the silence. So this is my philosophy of life (forgive my pompous bullshittyness):

There are moments when it all feels gray. When you can't tell where dreaming ends and waking begins. Life feels like a hazy swirl of certain uncertainty, and one's existence is like the lonely buzzing of a fly, in the languid heat of summer. When the faces in the crowd are all the same, and you don't know your place in the world. When hours flow like the water in a river, steadily away, into the dark horizon of meaninglessness.

And you see it in the flickering light of the candle, in the endless swirling of rainclouds outside the window, in the incoherant babble of words written in books. The truth staring you in the face- YOU DON'T EXIST. The fact is, that right now, if I ceased to exist, it would change nothing. The sun would still rise, the world would still turn and the mindless rabble that calls itself humanity would still eat, sleep, and procreate like rabbits. Who am I? NO-ONE. How many lives would I change, by dissapearing forever? NONE. A few would know, fewer would care. Ten years later, my best friend will be married with children nonetheless. So I came to ask myself, "Do I really exist, or is my existence merely a function of my mind, which refuses to accept the grim truth, and drowns itself in a deluge of self-satisfying imagery. ."

People die everyday. Their mortal remains are washed into the Ganges. The particles that were once a part of their living, breathing bodies, sink down to the bottom of the sea. How much do their deaths change? Their loved ones' lives goes on.. they, laugh and joke and go back to life as all the living do..People say that great men change lives, but I ask, will the grand-children of those people whose 'lives were changed' even know that the great life-changer even existed?

The ripples of an indivigual's existence fade away into the pool of time. We are infinitessimally insignificant to the course of time. If time is infinitely long, is it not also true that any single moment in time is infinitely small?

So what then is the meaning of it all? If we don't make a damn difference to the world, why exist at all? And I answer myself- WE DO EXIST, BUT ONLY IN OURSELVES. All that matters is one thing- Oneself. Life is as temporary as a drop of water in the Sahara, so the only purpose I can see in life is pleasure. Dont bother with fame, don't bother with glory and the promise of being eternally remembered. Nothing is eternal except eternity itself. So fill your life. Fill it with as much joy as can be squeezed into the time your given. Who gives a flying rat's ass about being remembered in the minds of other men; if we are unable to reap the benefits. Man's existence is defined by himself, and there is absolutely nothing beyond the self. Solipsistic as I may sound, and selfish as this may seem, revel in yourself- 'coz nothing else matters'.. Time is short, as Edgar Allen Poe says:-

"Grains of the golden sand,
How few yet how they creep,
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep! While I weep!
Oh God, can I not grasp,
Them with a tighter clasp?
Oh God! Can I not save,
One from the piteous wave?"


So we must live for pleasure, because beyond that, and beyond oneself- is NOTHING.

Ps: I hope this kind of personal and not-too-serious ranting is allowed here? If not, please inform me, authorities.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Call for Papers, in case any of you are feeling scholarly

Jadavpur University Essays and Studies
Call for Papers
No deadline
Anyone can submit, but it must be proper scholarly work.
Please especially tell any M.Phil, Ph.D. people you might know.
We are desperately looking for papers. This is a good opportunity to get published early if you're thinking of an academic career.

Jadavpur University Essays and Studies is the journal of the Department of English, Jadavpur University. Published once a year, the journal is broadly concerned with scholarship and research in literatures in English, and their relation to other literatures, literary theory, literary history, and language. It does not publish fiction, poetry and plays or their translations, and does not, as a rule, carry notes, letters and reviews. The editors may, however, invite and publish any material deemed appropriate. All original material published is copyright of the publishers. All submissions and commercial enquiries should be addressed to the Head of the Department of English, Jadavpur University, Kolkata 700 032, India. Contributions will go through a process of referral. Unsolicited manuscripts will not be returned unless accompanied by return postage.

A few broad guidelines for contributors are given below:

1. Contributors need to provide two hard copies of the text and a virus-free soft copy (preferably in editable MS Word 97 or later, or Rich Text Format) by email or on removable media. Please do not send PDF files. Also send a separate file containing a copy-paste of the endnote text in the correct numbered sequence, for reference. We will not accept hand-written or manually typed articles.
2. The title of the article should be in capitals.
3. Since articles will be refereed, contributors are advised not to sign the hard copies but to put their names in capitals on a detachable title-sheet along with their institutional affiliation, address for correspondence, telephone, fax numbers and email address.
4. All of the above information should be in the soft copy file before the body of the article (it will be cut-pasted into a separate file before refereeing.)
5. The text of the article including all quotations should be double-spaced. Endnotes, as brief as possible, should also be double-spaced and printed on a separate sheet in the hard copy. Do not run them on with the body of the article.
6. Details should be given in the following order when a work is cited for the first time: Author’s name, comma, Title (italicised) open parenthesis, place of publication, colon, publisher, comma, year of publication, end parenthesis, comma, p(p). page number(s).
Example: Kitty W. Scoular, Natural Magic: Studies in the Presentation of Nature in English Poetry from Spenser to Marvell (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), pp.65-7.
In case of a reprint or subsequent edition, open parenthesis, give the date of the first edition, followed by a semi-colon, reprint or edition details, place of publication, colon, publisher, comma, year of publication, end parenthesis, comma, p(p). page no(s).
Example: Colin Watson, Snobbery with Violence, (1971, corr. repr. London: Eyre Methuen, 1987) p.123.
Subsequent mentions may use the abbreviated form as shown below:
Scoular, Natural Magic, p. 64.
7. For references to articles in journals, collections and anthologies, the following style may be used:
Huston, Diehl, ‘Horrid Image, Sorry Sight, Fatal Vision: The Visual Rhetoric in Macbeth’, Shakespeare Studies 16(1983): 191-203.
Please do not abbreviate journal titles.
8. Anthologies should be cited by title, followed by names of editor(s), translators if any, and publication details as for a book.
9. Full citation details are to be provided for other sources such as facsimiles, newspaper articles, interviews, material on microfilm, websites (page title, stable URL, date accessed), etc.
10. For act, scene and line references to plays, the italicised title should be followed by a comma, act no., in capital roman numerals, stop, scene no in lower case roman numerals, stop, line no(s) in arabic numerals. Example: Macbeth, III.iii.3.
11. Titles of constituent sections of larger works, or essays, or poems, or short stand-alone fiction, should be placed within single quotation marks. As a rule, single quotation marks should be used in all cases except for quotations within quotations which should be within double quotation marks.
12. Quotations not exceeding 25 words may be run on with the text and be put within single quotation marks. Other quotations should be displayed in blocks with right and left indents. All quotations should follow the original exactly in respect of spelling, capitalisation, italicisation, punctuation etc.
13. Charts, tables, figures and illustrations should be placed in a separate file and on a separate page. Authors will be responsible for negotiating permission if and where necessary for reproducing illustrations etc.
14. British spellings are preferred to American alternatives. Quotations should follow the spellings in the sources.

Send email submissions to rimibchatterjee@yahoo.co.in or offog1@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Anything but a moment of shame


[Seeing that The Blab blog is now reserved for serious discussions only, I still venture to post this here rather than in the forum, 'cuz I'd consider this a serious post. If the blog is not to be used for anything but academic discussions, the admins please feel free to remove the post or provide a link to this permalink to the origuinal post on my blog on the forum if you please.]

While the self-righteous world-audience seems unanimous in condemning Zidane's head-butt, with occasional apologetic consolatory offerings of peace in talking about how Materazzi had exactly provoked the French great, I find this debate rather fruitless to carry on. And repulsive.

Can't you see? This is not the common unsporting tactics of teams that we've been barraged with throughout this cup! Here is one man, a great footballer and one who takes his stature and his game seriously (some would even say, too seriously) - and in full glare of tv cameras he goes ahead and commits a foul which he's not interested in trying to hide. He knows what he's doing, and he was ready to face the consequences. The second he had the Italian on the ground, he was also taking off his captain's armband, fully aware of the end he has chosen for his unbelievably colourful career. It was a moment of honest rage, of righteous anger - the kind we rarely see these days, and it was directed purely and unapologetically at the other style of commiting fouls - the insulting whisper, the carefully executed illegal tackle hoping the ref wouldn't notice (or even hoping the ref might be conned to book the other guy for diving), and of course, the nonchalant dives which seem to be an integral part of the tactical armour of any modern soccer team.

When you have almost accepted diving and conning and succesfully executed illegal play as special skills that enhance an international player's worth, what moral right do you have to sit and judge a man who openly and publicly expresses his anger at being abused and takes on the consequences of his act without a word of protest? If the football officials and the moral pundits were a li'l more self-respecting, they should be burying their foul mouths in shame after this.

And then, when the world is happily viliying the courageous gesture of Zidane, here comes Materazzi, openly telling the world that he had indeed insulted Zidane, quite vilely at that, first pinching his left nipple and pulling his shirt, and when being offered the shirt after the match by Zinedine, he proudly states that he merely wanted to take the shirt off Zidane's wife. The implication being - I have not called him a terrorist, I have not abused him by bringing in his mother (two other rumours going around) and therefore it is quite okay if i was asking his permission to undress his wife. Bah!

The saddest part of the deal is that the Italians, with their ugly and monotonous defensive style, would now be grinning away to glory. Cuz they have won the world cup not by playing the best football out there, not even nearly the best. For sure they were given undue preference aginst Australia, and it was a match they looked quite sure of losing. But what has paid off for them is the traditional Italian club weapon of foul-mouthing your oppponent and taking his case and provoking him to retribute and therefore get sent off or warned. It's common tactics in all major Italian clubs (well, it's no wonder match-fixing scandals keep resurfacing there once so often) and is proudly referred to as "cunning" play. It's really sad to see this paid off against Zidane.

Indeed, provocations have paid off against the great Frenchman quite a few times in his career. He is a very quiet guy, used to bottling his reactions, but prone to losing his temper and going completely off the hook when he does finally react. This was such a moment. But in a World Cup marred by half as many bookings for divings as for fouls, and with its array of illegally won pivotal penalties, this was a moment of difference. I would choose to read this as a moment of open condemnation of the system which has all but officially taken such illegal tactics as part of the colour and nature of the "physical" game.

He didn't try to con anybody. He didn't claim innocence. He didn't even protest and say that he was abused and hence his reaction. He did what he wanted to do, what he felt he was justified in doing, he wanted retribution for the insults of Materazzi, for FIFA would surely be ignoring the Italian's provocations but for the drama that has come to surround them now. Zidane has forced us to look straight into the rather disconcerting contrast between genuine anger and violence produced through hurt on one side, and clever and vain dirty-play on the other. He was indeed abused (whatever the abuse was) and he just spoke with his action. He didn't try to hide his anger. He didn't try to justify his anger either. It was the most befitting way he could have said goodbye to a system which allows temperamental but basically quiet and honest players like Zidane to suffer through the dirty tactics of cleverly planned professional provocateurs.

Even if Zidane was not a genius, and I hadn't been witness to some of the most enduring moments of football magic thanks to him, even then I would have remembered him and honoured him for this one single gesture. It was brave and honest, and that a great professional like Zidane can risk his reputation and his national stature to stand up and react this way - it was a moment of freshness for me, and a great moment of pride. If Zidane had provided some exquisite football moments in a World Cup that had not been continuously rivetting by any means, he has also provided a proud and unapologetic counterpoint to the great tradition of cheating and conning that we've seen being showcased throughout this World Cup. I feel no need to be ashamed of such a gesture. It was a moment of real pride for the sport, if only it would get its priorities right.

Monday, June 19, 2006

And the rant goes on...

To continue my post on how to read and write in an academic way, starting with what to leave out when you're writing an answer to a question:

You have to be selective when using information about a text in an answer; you have to choose, out of the store of what you know, the most relevant points or facts. Please, please don’t vomit out everything you know about something. Yes, I know that’s how they taught you in school. It worked back then because the amount of information you were working with was very small: you could deal with the whole of it without getting swamped. But you’re now out in the adult world where there is no one rationing your information input; that responsibility now lies with you and no one else. When you read, you must organize in your mind the information you collect. I find a good way to do this is to read the book once for the story, or the general argument, then red it again to see how the points are developed (or the effects are made). The second reading is analytical, and helps when you are asked about something in particular, say gender in Little Dorrit. You will then automatically think about the women characters, their fates, and particular incidents that brought out in stark relief their position. You might also think about the gendering of the male characters. In each person’s response to this topic, there will be some broadly similar features, since they all rest on the same text. But within that similarity, there will be sharp differences in interpretation and evaluation. These will depend on who it is that’s holding the opinion. Unlike in school, there is no longer ONE right answer: there are an infinite number, PROVIDED they can be upheld with supporting evidence. If you can get the supporting evidence, and it’s fairly hole-proof, then voila! You have an opinion. Seen in that light, what the teachers tell you in class is also a collection of opinions. They’re usually the ones that rest most solidly on evidence, but they aren’t any kind of gospel, and we WANT you to take issue with them. With time and between institutions, and even between teachers (or especially between teachers) this body of opinions varies. This is no longer table d’hote: this is a la carte.

This reminds me of a story Swapanda tells. A fairly bright girl came and sat for the interview (this was way back when selection was on the basis of interviews). When asked what she read, she named various textbooks in her syllabus. Somewhat taken aback, the interview board asked her if she ever read anything else. She proudly said, ‘Ami out boi pori na’ (I do not read ‘out’ books). In other words, she never read anything unless required to do so by the system. Needless to say, if you follow this method you will be in deep shit.

Well, in college, as I was saying, you have to be selective about what you put in your academic writing. I often see (though I see less of it these days) that regardless of what the question is, people giving an exam invariably preface their answers with a summary of the entire plot. In gross detail. This usually leaves them with one paragraph at the end in which to answer the question. Do NOT do that. Think first, then start answering the question from the beginning, and stick in the evidence as you go along. In truth all that is worthwhile in the vomitatious answer is the last paragraph, and it’s seldom worth the full mark weightage of the answer. Really, if that is what we wanted of you, we wouldn’t bother to ask questions in the first place. We ask questions because art is long, and life and exams are rather short. If you have studied even a little, you will know far more about a text than can fit in a 40 minute answer. The question is there to narrow it down.

When you answer a question, you are expected to show acquaintance with the text. What does that mean? Well, of course you must refer to, paraphrase and if necessary quote from it, but your instances should be geared to your answer. You must choose them to bolster your argument, or to make points about the text. Your selection of the most appropriate and telling bits of text earn you credit. You will not get credit for mugging up huge chunks and spewing them like carpet bombs over the terrain. But this is something that people seem to have worked out these days, it was more of a problem in my time when huge, four-hour tests gave people the leisure to talk an infinite deal of rot. The plot summary was practically de rigueur then, but these days of lightning-fast exams seem to have killed them. However, term papers still get waylaid by them, but I would like to point out that if you are doing your term paper on a fairly obscure text, and it is a major part of your argument, then you will need to give a fairly full description. Use your common sense, and if you haven’t any, use a teacher’s (after asking politely).

I’d also like to point out to you that most scholarly books follow these simple rules. In other words, most of the texts you read in the ordinary course of your studies embody these principles. However, you must read them not only for content but also for ‘meta data’ i.e. the way the texts are put together, the values that inform them, the techniques they use, in order to appreciate this. Give it some thought next time you read a book.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A hit! a very palpable hit!

A most wonderfully valid point, O Panu! I am glad you made it. This brings me to the topic of academic detachment, which I was going to take up a bit later, but what the hell. The question also comes up in a slightly different way: some kid accosts me in the corridor and says why is Blah di Blah on the course it’s horrible, it makes me puke, IT IS THE PITS!!!!!!! I say, yes of course, dearie, but it’s there for your own good. This usually floors ‘em.

OK, one of the first things you learn as a lit student is how to read as an academic. That means that although your personal likes and dislikes matter (they are after all the fuel of your academic curiosity) you are also an impartial judge of the worth of an individual text. You begin to acquire a historical perspective on how literature as a whole has developed, and you start to see texts in the context of their time and of their themes. That’s one of the prime objectives of making you write answers and essays. Now a good academic will never let their personal feelings get in the way of assessing a text. Or to be more exact, will be able to do the industry-standard assessment without flinching, but will probably complain if asked to write a seminar paper on a cordially disliked work.

Most of the works in your syllabus are NOT there because they are great literature (and you are NOT expected to bang on about how the work is chock full of genius and proves that Shaw is god’s gift to world culture or whatever). They are there either because (a) they were pivotal in changing the trends of their time, or (b) because they stand for a common and important genre of their time. They don’t necessarily have to be good as well (though it’s always a welcome bonus). If you personally dislike a work, you are of course at liberty to say so. But you must FIRST place the work in its time and place and give it due credit for (a) and/or (b). You can then move to your opinion of it, and then back up your opinion with instances from the text. You won’t be allowed to say ‘This sucks, because ….!’ Because that’s childish and irresponsible. But if you can say, ‘I consider Sade morally depraved because of his eagerness to turn people into things, as he does in chapter x where he uses three young girls as mobile chess tables… ‘ then you’re on to something. Yes, we will even accept repugnant opinions if you can back them up. We have even had proto-fascists in this dept, and we never penalized them for their opinions, only where applicable for sloppy thinking, and in this they were not unique. In fact give me someone full of weird opinions who’s willing to fight for them over some docile mugpot any day.

In an ideal world, the problem you refer to doesn’t arise. I CAN’T be revolted by your opinions of Sade, if you present them sanely. Now I don’t deny that there are teachers who fall foul of this (not so) lofty ideal. But as far as I know, we don’t have any such in this Department (correct me if I’m wrong).

Hope this clears up what ‘contextualisation’ means.

Monday, June 12, 2006

A thought

This post is not a very coherent one; I apologise sincerely to the readers for that. But I believe that there is one concept that I have been giving a lot of thought upon, and though very cliched and all that it might seem, it is important for me to get this out.

First, I would like to talk about the point that RBC comprehensively explained. We must feel a text before commenting on it, we must understand it, and in the process, place ourselves in the context of the text and experience it, and our replies to the text should be from us and us alone, not from any other person.

But then we are faced with a problem. What if, despite all our efforts otherwise, we fail to contextualize the text???? What if, while responding to it, we do not do so in the way we are required to, by others.? What if, our contextualization is directly in contrast to that what is wanted from us??

I shall give an example here. Both PG and UG groups had Marquis de Sade in one of their optionals (UG in Censorship and PG in Queer theory).

Lets just say, maybe I found Sade to be extremely enlivening and thoroughly delightful (well, lets just think of me as a perv). That contrasted directly with what someone else thought.... that is, lets say you, a teacher, is absolutely revolted by the ideas that Sade dwelt in. And therefore, though perhaps brilliant, my response to Sade will not be seen as favourably by you (brilliant it may be) because of your preconstructed response towards Sade.

Therefore I shall end here, leaving the question with you.... To What EXTENT can this reader-response theory be open? To what extent can it be repressed?


*incoherent, incoherent.... but still, I think I got you thinking*

Rant number three

Why put in references? Any work of scholarship, however humble, is a contribution to knowledge. As such, the path you followed to produce it should be retraceable, so that other scholars can follow your thread of reasoning and come to their own conclusions about what you say. If not, your piece is not a work of scholarship: it might qualify as creative writing, but it just won’t do in an academic context. The references are a map telling those who come after you where to put their feet, i.e. where and how to find the data you used in making your argument. You therefore have to refer to concrete things, like pages in books that actually exist. I’ve seen people write things like ‘Enid Blyton’ or ‘Wikipedia’ in their reference lists. This makes no sense: how is one supposed to follow in your footsteps over these vast trackless deserts? You have to refer to actual books/sites that exist as concrete entities, if possible mentioning the page numbers where relevant.

When you read for an essay, keep a notebook by you, and when you come to a point you want to use, quickly jot down the page number and a few words on the point in your notebook. When you take a book out of the library, before you sit down to read them, note down the author(s), editor(s) if any, full title, series title if any, publisher, place of publication and year of publication. If it’s an article, note the author, title, journal name, volume number, serial number, page range. Also jot down the accession number and shelf-mark: this will help you find the book easily again. This may sound very cumbersome, but believe me, habits like this will stand you in good stead in any research-based field, including journalism. Try and make this as close to second nature as you can; it’ll save you a lot of trouble and heartbreak later on.

A point that has been confusing people is how to balance your own opinions with those you read from others. The essential trick is to see the whole thing as a dialogue. You MUST react to what you read, whether it’s primary or secondary material. You must engage imaginatively with the text. Remember that all texts are produced by people, and therefore there is nothing ‘given’ about the way they are: someone chose to make them that way, and you can inquire into the reasons. If you are puzzled, or unsatisfied, or annoyed or irked by something, that’s a good place to start thinking about it. First look for the reasons behind your feeling, then check out the secondary material to see if anyone else feels like that. If no one does, then quite probably you’re on to something new. If someone has, read what they’ve written and see if it exhausts everything there is to say on the subject. If not, then again you’re in business.

OK, we are losing the thread here. My next post will be on selection from texts for an answer/ essay/term paper.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

On plagiarism and more...

Arundhati in the comments on the previous post has very succinctly summed up the essence of avoiding plagiarism, but for the hard-of-thinking I'll go over it again.
Firstly, plagiarism is just a fancy word for COPYING. It means both copying verbatim and passing it off as your own work (which is illegal) and copying the ideas and vomiting them out as your own (which is not always illegal but is definitely damaging to your reputation). Now wait a minute, you say. Isn't that what we're taught to do all through school and even in college? True. It's all part of the process of teaching.

Teaching is paradoxical. We fill you up with facts and figures that we already know, and ask you to 'learn' them ie repeat them back to us, but what you don't get told at the outset is WHY we do this and WHAT its supposed to do for you. You figure the purpose of it all slowly as you go along, and college is where it should start to dawn on you. Eventually, when you've climbed the mountain of the syllabus and internalised as much of it as you can hold, we want you to step off the map. College is where you take your first tentative steps into the unknown, by thinking for yourself, by asking questions, by adding to what's known and evaluating, interpreting it. Of course, we hold your hand while you're doing it, and we weigh what you bring back from the edge, but the point is, you have to know where the edge is.

This is where the rules change. Now we still want you to go out there and read secondary material (that is books about books, books of criticism, books that you might call meta-texts) as well as primary material (novels, poems, biographies, etc) but we also want you to begin in a small way adding to what's known. You are now required to start pulling your weight in the academic world. You might say, well, these people we're reading are such bosses, they've covered everything, I can't find something original to say about Paradise Lost!!!! The answer to that is, of course there is something original to say about PL. There always will be. The state of the art today hasn't even scratched the surface of that text, or of any text.
So how do you do it? Read the critics to map the edge. Then hammer them. Ask where they haven't gone far enough, where they've gone too far, where they haven't gone at all. Disagree with them: have a dialogue with them in your head. Then put it on paper. Do the same with the primary text: in fact do it more with the primary text. Your reactions to a text are uniquely your own: they are original without your having to sweat it. You will do this successfully if your school education as yet hasn't dulled you to the point where you no longer react to what you read. Schools mostly try to turn people into buckets full of 'facts': we want you to be crucibles in which facts are transformed. You still have to fill the crucible, but you also have to light the fire underneath.

Now do you see why copying term papers is such a missed opportunity? we give you term papers to do so that you can, in a controlled environment, start to form your own opinions about texts and genres. Finding the material on the web is only the first part of the process. Then you have a dialogue with it, which you report by quoting bits of the material either in quote marks (for small bits) or in stand alone blocks for large bits, with references in both cases, and intermesh them with your own comments and interpretations. Look in any work of criticism worth its salt to see how it's done. Yes, and you have to reference EVERY TIME you quote. You can't just have a sloppy list at the back, huddled away after your name and cool downloaded pictures. If that means you mention a site fifty times, so be it. Also be alert to subpages in sites: your browser bar will tell you when you've followed a link to a sub page. You also have to give the date accessed along with the stable URL. You don't need to mention your browser or OS. Images also have to be referenced.

This is becoming a very long post. I'll let you chew this bit, and continue my rant next time....

Monday, May 29, 2006

Big bad RANT

I am shocked.
There has been wholesale downloading and cut-and-pasting for term papers for at least two courses taken by the present UG1s. Lots of people who deserved better have had to be penalised because of shameless and pathetic plagiarising. I want to know: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE??? Granted, that given the wholesale nature of the problem it's a systemic failure: we haven't learned you good how to use material and quote/adapt in academic work. Only one or two people had any idea how to write a bibliography. Practically no one cited complete URLs for websites. 'The adventures of Tintin' is not a text and doesn't exist in any recognisable bibliographical sense. Listing five websites does NOT excuse lifting huge chunks from each of them and cut-and-pasting them into an essay. That is (read my lips) PLAGIARISM. Someone called Kaavya got caught, remember? I bet she produced term papers using exactly the methods you seem to think so cool. I also want to know: DO YOU THINK WE (THE PROFS) DON'T KNOW HOW TO USE THE INTERNET? Do you think we've never heard of Google string search? Do you think we'll give you marks for having broadband? I repeat: I really don't understand what's got into you. Even in my benighted UG1 I had some dim sense that if I copied stuff I'd look very dumb indeed. Hey, do you think just because your parents haven't a clue how to rip off wikipedia that we're the same? It's really sad because many of you chose really sexy topics that you could have had a ball with. Instead you found some obscure article on a uchicago website (say) and cooked it up. Removing lines like 'And I'll come back to this point later on in the lecture' does NOT (a) make it your own work or (b) stop us from finding the source on the web. And all this in spite of your having been warned repeatedly in class against doing exactly that.
Wise Up!
But there is HOPE (for the next batch at least). Having been collectively appalled we are changing the UG1 format. From now on, you won't have any options in your Sem 2. Instead in the optional slot you will have a core course called PRINCIPLES OF ACADEMIC WRITING (PAW). Hopefully this will teach you guys how to use on- and offline sources, edit stuff, quote, make notes and references, organise an essay, set up an academic argument, all that basic stuff. Sheeesh.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Lest Auld Acquaintance....

Well, it looks like I'm blogging in solitary splendour here, for which I guess the exams are mostly to blame. BTW, does anyone know where the board for the meatspace blab has gone? It was used during the MAdmission but I can't find it anywhere.
People, do you want this to go the way of the other defunct JUDE blogs, or shall we continue to bless it with posts? For one thing, it's a useful directory to everyone's blogs, and still gets used as such. PLus, it could be a space for people (like myself) who have a blog presence but don't want to take on a whole blog, since most of the time I (to take a sample case) don't have enough to say to prop up a full time blog. Plus the thought of pontificating in solitary splendour is kind of off-putting. Also JUDE newcomers to blogs and their habits can start off posting here and graduate to their own blogs if they wish.
Since JU Arts has been deprived by dastardly conspiracy of the lobby, this is as close to a virtual lobby we'll ever get. As most of the people reading this blog have no idea what the lobby was, let me try to explain. It was kind of like the late-lamented bridge, except that khuchro prem/subs. ab./pnpc were only part of the lobby menu. There was also plenty of serious, heated discussion and idea-swapping. Of course, in those days JU was a very different place. Nearly all the faculty we have today had not shown up, with the exception of Supriyadi. We followed the annual system, in as must as we followed any system at all. JU was NOT a trendy place to be, that was reserved for Presi or maybe Xaviers. Presi was the ideological hotspot: people there aspired to be thinkers. JU English and Comp. Lit. (which were much more sister depts then than now) were more oriented towards doing, esp. Comp. Lit. which still had the shadow of Buddhadev Basu on it and turned out many accomplished actors, directors, dancers and creative people. English was the oddballs' haven (diluted somewhat by the homely convent-educated ujjol shyambornos) with lots of moffusil-refugees and people with no background whatsoever. Anyone who turned up in a car was subjected to long, slow scrutiny. The faculty were mostly either nice, flustered incompetents or completely insane, once again with the exception of Supriyadi who is and will always be in a class of her own (yes she's my favourite teacher: Swapanda was in England). Of course, I didn't experience JU as an undergrad since I went to Brabourne (yet managed to spend most of my third year in the lobby). To the credit of the Brabourne teachers, they quickly identified me as a nutcase and left me benevolently to my own devices, a privilege I would not have got at Loreto or even Xaviers. I even managed to act in a JUDE play in my third year (this was before DIP and ALal). Hence the importance of the lobby and the people in it: they and the old British Council Library are largely responsible for my education (in so far as anyone apart from me can be blamed for it).
But things have changed. The stuff we bootlegged on the lobby steps is now part of the syllabus. The annual system is history. People who do NOT turn up in cars are subjected to fast, incredulous scrutiny (not). Most of the Presi faculty has been lifted Noah's ark-like into JUDE (no don't even attempt to pair them off). And we have blogs. Perhaps the lobby would have died anyway, under the mounting pressure of the new dispensation. Or perhaps not. I shall at this point resist the urge to quote Malory via Tennyson.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Have been tarting up the old blab

theees are my not very successful attempts to refurbish the old hangout. pliss to help out, html hotshots

Monday, May 15, 2006

Where have all the people gone?

Why is this excellent forum languishing? While the new blab is no doubt a heap of fun, it somehow lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. Let's not lose this one: it can still fill a need for the JUDE community. And admin people, could you freshen up the decor? The place looks a bit scruffy and tired.
The other place is great to chat and muck about in. Can we have the serious stuff here?
Please?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

girls' loo(boys too must know!!)it's serious

it's horrid...in the past it was only the stink that tormented us...but now...add to it..the visual torment we, all loo-goers encounter everyday. Some honest soul in the dept regularly purges herself of all bodily sins(and wastes-- solid, semi-solid and liquid) and never bothers to wash them off the white tiled floor!! And wait...there's more...a door without a latch...so everytime a girl has to respond to Nature's call, she has to get another girl so that latter locks the door from outside and faithfully guards it with her might till the unfortunate loo-goer is done with her job; Or else one has to rush to the other loos on the other floors even if she has an important lecture to attend and she is late!! So the conclusion is: either the one who commits such nuisance in the girls' loo is illiterate, or the photocopied posters, with such threatening words, so carefully glued to the dirty door, are absolutely mute...and we remain passive onlookers/loogoers...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Hunger

So it struck me one day that I was paying about 20 bucks for crap. No choice, unfortunately. Little did I realise how contaminated the crap was. Manida's fried rice had pink colour on the pieces of chicken. When the objectionable pieces were waved in front of the noses of those honest workers of the establishment they said the colour had probably come off us or someone else. However I had no colour on me and the canteen had been surprisingly empty. And then the old guy- the one with specs, don't know his name, came out and washed his very pink hands. It probably hadn't occured to him that washing his hands before serving would have been 'the thing to do.' There are brave souls out here eating chicken inspite of the flu but the thing is, if people can't wash their hands before shredding the bird then i guess we might as well stop. But then what do we eat and where do we eat? And I'm talking about something that comes close to qualifying as a meal-type thing. Not even asking for meals here. Snacks dont' count. Until then i guess it's the contaminated stuff at Manida's for me. Oh, and lets play football.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

LATE-IN for LATIN

latin classes started today...
the proffesor in question was a minuite or two LATE-IN for LATIN

ARANI QUIZZED


ARANI QUIZZED

This is the story of one man who said he’d stop the quizzing of the world—and did.

Is he a destroyer or a liberator?

Why does he have to fight his battle not against his enemies but against those who quiz with him most? Why does he fight his hardest battle against his own quiz-hungry soul?

You will find the answers to these sitters when you discover the reasons behind the baffling rounds that play havoc with the lives of quizzards in this book. You will discover the connection between quizzing and world power—the mysterious revival of the Incas—the tragedy of the dinosaurs—the extraordinary thesis behind the observation that when quizzards die they go to JNU—why Mario Vargas Llosa has to lose the next Peruvian election—and lastly, the solution to the universe, the ultimate ball-breaker.

Tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense, Arani Quizzed is unlike any other book you have read. It is mystery story—not about the identity of the next North Star winner—but the quizzing of man’s soul.

(Authors’ note: This unfinished four-chapter definitive novel on college quizzing was co-written by RBC and AG in 1991, with RBC doing most of the writing and AG ‘supplying ideas’—in other words, doing nothing. Photocopies of the chapters were sold to quizzers at various college quizzes. The plot is hideously complicated and a prize will be given to anyone able to work out the identities of Khatam Cetebos in chapter 2 and Leo Lignus Serpentarius in chapter 3. A helpful key at the end identifies the various characters in the first chapter who need introduction—some have become quite famous/ infamous in their chosen fields).


Chapter one

CNMC smelt of carbolic acid.

Why carbolic acid? Why should C6H5OH in colloidal suspension through the air permeate the vicinity? Because the medical profession cannot thrive without it. Like Martians from an alien world, they must have place of their own from which to view the earth, their own tiny pungent biosphere. Into this tranquil gas-jar are suddenly inducted several new species: engineers, hausfraus, eggheads, femmes fatale, bookworms, slideworms and flickworms, not to mention tape(?)worms. All, however, addicted to (ah goddess!) quizzing. Though with agonized shrieks they all strive to make it clear that they only do it for money—the doctors, at least, should know better. Take a quizzard away from his quiz, and watch him outgobble the coldest turkey on the mesas of Antarctica. Though crestfallen they will be at this harsh observation, no flights of fancy will disguise the winged victories hovering over their heads, urging them on to their cocksure triumphs and their foul fluffs. We have noted this while gliding over our phenylated cockpit; let us now swoop in for a closer look.

Before the befogged atmosphere causes us to crash squawking into the podium, we are arrested by the sight of a strange specimen: mild, inscrutable with an equivocally bearded face, dreamy eyes and mare’s nest hair. This, believe it or not, is Arani Sinha. A specimen wo studied till late in that den of iniquity known as Jadavpur University, now deserted for ISI, but stray mentions of him still have the power to curdle the tea at Ashirvad. Though his name is variously pronounced, most versions of it being received with a sharp wince by the so called, we hereby declare our intention to pronounce it Or-o-ni. If anyone demurs, let them quote law—the oronus of proof is on their heads. As for his surname, it is pronounced Sin-ha, though whether this is aranical or not, we shall not comment.

Our hero this brave August morning is engaged in a dark and barbarous rite, to wit: the 1990 Agon General Quiz at National Medical College, the latest congregation of the formidable quiz talent of Calcutta. One big family of animated databases, all under one roof, sawing away at life in all its quizzicality. Is it an accident that the word ‘quiz’ originally meant oddball? That it was coined by a drunk Irish theatre manager on 1798 for a bet? Is there, could there be, a Plan behind it all? An Immovable Mover? A presence that heats with intellectual wine the livers of these men and women, here to quiz with all the energy and ambition of ten Caesars pursuing Cleopatra. Yet do we see in the feverish cigarette smoke curling above their heads the cryptic words ‘Cui Bono?’ Who benefits? The answer to that will bring the cosmos to its knees.

We cast our eyes about amid the bewildering brilliant ribaldry of quiz foreplay. We notice several desiccated specimens, all with the mark of Cain on their foreheads, put there by hard self-slaps when they missed a question. Here we find a tall basketball player, one of the few quizzards who has other talents beside a mind like a steel trap, and whose life, like that of the 1857 revolutionaries, revolves in a planar spiral around the haj to the capital, with occasional lapses into paraplanetoidal spheres. There is a third year Presidency history student, rivalling one JU-ite only in Hindi film funda, currently a victim of JNU blues, about which more later. Another pair from Presi, vying with each other in mass, are prone to have sudden fierce arguments about who is heavier. Saurav Sen, a JU specimen whose knowledge of ancient Rome, especially the food habits of Roman vermin and the number of calories the lions got from each Christian in the Circus Maximus, has always disturbed Arani to the depth of his database.

Now a voice like a foghorn distracts our attention, and a startled look thitherwards shows that it emanates from a frame to suit. Alu (Arithmetic Log Unit?) has arrived to represent NRS, along with Rito Mitra and a decrepit old crock from way back called K. Mullick. Next to them is Jhantu Burman who has a veekness for wine, women and song: when the public’s around he stops singing. We pass lightly over a group of doctors, noting a baby-faced Parsi by the unlikely name of Battiwala, a PharstOarldRetarned quizzard cum debater cum extempore speech maker from Calcutta Medical, with an equally baby-faced IIM specimen who is doctor by name and not nature and who is unfortunate enough to possess the initials V.D. We see a gaggle of Presi types, over all of whom broods the shadow of Sinha’s frustration, especially over the Gang of Four known as Presi Blacks, presided over by a repository of sports statistics whose interest in current politics may be more than an accident.

Those within the hearing of Bhow bells are said to be Cockneys, or alternatively come to life singing ‘I Bhow to thee my country’ or ‘Bhow, Bhow, the winter wind’ though this makes them sound like bloodhounds being given a bhow job. Strange to tell, but this curious four-letter word is the appellation of a bhow-legged doctor from CMC whose questions are exceptionally schizophrenic and who is acknowledged to be a gone case by all hands. Another gone case is now sub-editor of The Statesman who with the deputy editor of the Calcutta Skyline is part of the manic old guard. Other lines also run from here to the world, to Patna, to southern Mississippi, to XLRI, and of course to Delhi. Speaking of Patna, we have a rail-thin, hawk-nosed expert on terrorism, female sibling of our Patna resident, who has a tendency to shock Loreto nuns with sudden mentions of syphilis. Next to her is the matronly and quizbitten MRs J., whose presence shows that the bug knows no barriers, infesting without mercy all classes, tribes and nations, irrespective of caste, creed or marital status (witness Debuda). Also shown by the presence of the O’Briens, reputed by their name to be descended from Brian Boru, king of Connaught, though this may be a typical Irish tall story. And while on Ireland, we notice a specimen who has had the luck to be born in the land of Guinness but who has long since shakes its dust off her baby booties and is now involved in the perpetual steely-eyed quest for a team.

Closer in, we notice a pint-sized specimen by the name of Tintin. This is not the name by which various harassed officials have him tagged in their individual rogue’s galleries, but it is the name by which he is best known in quizzing circles. It is he who has now cast a suspicious glance at the Sinha, for the Sinha’s mind is in a spin: he did dream of moneybags tonight, and the questions of the universe are drawing breath to blow their bugles in his being. Unbeknownst to him, fate with the abhorred shears and galley-proofs is approaching, the golden gates of peace are closing; soon he will be locked in a dream-nightmare that will rack his soul.

The quiz prelims are over in a flurry of scribbled sheets like snowflakes; though the atmosphere through which they float in serene drifts is far from cold; it crackles with all the tension of an Ascot Opening Meet. Volunteers pounce on the errant testimonials or engage in undignified tugs-of-war with the more tenacious quizzards. ‘Time’s up!’ shouts our QM, the usually suave and self-possessed J. Ghosh from NRS, who shares perpetual youth with the other Ghosh from CNMC, and who is the only living person who can handle unruly quizzards without mussing his hair. This capacity of his is being nevertheless being severely being tried at this instant, as Jhantu suddenly wakes up to the fact that he has forgotten to write his team’s name on his sheet, and insists on chasing it all over the room. Order is restored presently; the Ghosh surreptitiously mops his brow, and those quizzards who are not pretending unconcern on the balcony outside wait with bated breath for the results. Arani (sigh of relief) qualifies.

The quiz begins. Fast and furious fly the challenges to the rationality of the universe. Which household appliance is modelled on the human arm? Answer: the Terry Anglepoise lamp. What was the first standarised commodity to be mass-produced? Answer: Books. What does the word Manhattah mean in Naragansett? Answer: the place of the great booze-up. Anxious faces and sweaty palms prevail on the stage—not entirely because of the quiz, but over the nagging question of when the food will arrive. Unwary quizzards who eat too much have to eat crow as questions pass by their full mouths. But quizzards’ digestions, both of funda and dhop-chop are phenomenal. They thrive on both.

Halfway through the quiz Arani is gnashing his teeth. The situation is bad: CMC and Presi Blacks (aargh!) are ahead of him. CMC leads by five points, with Presi two pints behind them. JU ‘A’ are ard on Arani’s heels, though their anchorman Joy Bhattacharya has disappeared into the wings. Saurav Sen anxiously strains his atlanto-axial articulation in the cause of peering uneasily over his shoulder thitherwards, but to no avail, for the Ghosh and their direct pass over them like a South Sea Island thunderstorm, the Bhattacharya arrives 2.3867 seconds too late, and Joy & Co. are left with the proverbial cold shower to console themselves with. Arani piously thanks the Sphinx of Thebes, who was the first recorded quizzard in history, and picks up the question. He is now one point behind the leaders.

The tension mounts. CMC fluffs a sitter on stock market slang. Alu picks up a question on Edgar Rice Burroughs by the skin of his teeth. Joy makes a brilliant comeback in the audio round, identifying three out of four voices in an extended remix by an amateur group of a Dylan number that flopped in 1964. Arani gets one of Mendelssohn’s ‘Songs Without Words’ and curses his luck. Bleakly, he watches Devdaan pick it up, reflecting bitterly that Devdaan has had advantages he never had. But then three bonuses come to him one after another and restore the tattered remains of his morale to working order.

Yet no! the visual round casts him down again, Ranjan Raichowdhury identifies the view from the eastern corner of Eiffel Tower. Anup unravels a question of horrible obscurity on South Indian dance forms, to the disappointment of Mrs J. who lies in wait in the audience for just such funda. Benjamin Zacchariah boosts JU ‘A’ with a youthful picture of Jimi Hendrix. Pagla of NRS rises magnificently to the occasion and not only gets his direct but also cuts off two bonus points that were heading for Arani. Our hero is destitute. Mutely he turns to Tintin for help, but Tintin is busy stuffing himself with sandwiches—this quizzing Weltlust never gets to him. Arani muses over his chances of getting a gastric ulcer in the next half hour. He picks disconsolately at his food and loses his appetite when Presi answers something abstruse about John Maynard Keynes. It is now his direct.

J. Ghosh approaches, tilting his head to one side as he always does when about to deliver a stinker. Tintin’s sandwich drops from a nerveless hand. The Ghosh speaks:

“One of the wonders of the ancient world was the Colossus of Rhodes, a statute of the sun-god built from the bronze of the captured cannons of Antigonus of Macedon who lost the siege of Rhodes. It was 105 ft. high and beacon fires lit in its eyes at night. Question: WHO OR WHAT WAS THE MODEL?

Tintin chokes. Arani is unaware that he is trying, unsuccessfully, to chew his abortive beard. Jaideep Mukherjee turns a pinker shade of pink. Only Debkumar is calm, convinced of his total inability to answer the question. Five precious seconds are wasted reviving Tintin, but Arani has a strange feeling that time has stopped. Something is struggling to get free inside him: he is suffering from the exquisite agony of being visited by an inspired bhat. But five ephemeral seconds are not enough for the birth of an universal truth, and the question passes (fickle world!) leaving Sinha writhing in agony. They say opportunity is bald on the back of her head and can only be caught by the forelock, a question which has not occurred to a quizmaster yet, showing that they don’t know everything. Through a haze of thwarted funda, he watches it go around…”Yes Keshta? Marcus Aurleius? No, no, not old Marcus…What? Caligula? No. No emperors, please...No Jhantu, it was not Cecil Rhodes….What, Minoo? Speak up, can’t you?…Philip of Macedon? No, you’re on the wrong side of the war…”

He wakes to find the question back with the quizmaster. Ghosh looks around with a pained expression. “Can anyone in the audience try it?’ Dead silence. People inspect their fingernails with great assiduity. Arani’s teeth are chattering. To stop them, he bites into Tintin’s sandwich.

Ghosh flashes a brilliant smile. “It was a little statue of Apollo that was dug up on the bech by a one-eyed beggarboy on the fifth feast of Saturn just after the siege was broken, taken for a portent by the priests of Rhodes.”

Arani chokes. THIS CAN NOT BE! He knows, he KNOWS in his blood that this is WRONG! In a sandwich-blocked voice, he croaks. No, no. Debkumar pats him paternally on the back as his eyes roll heavenwards. But the ultimate indignity for a quizzard is to faint after missing a question. So with a superhuman display of cali he saves himself, though he is now exhausted, bewildered and bemused at the violence of his reaction to this vague funda. What’s Colossus to him or he to Colossus? But he has no time to think about it, as through miles of cotton wool he hears the quiz continuing…why were hatter mad?…what is measured in ankars, tunlets and runs?…what liqueur is made out of rotten orange peel?…what is the origin of the word slob?…what is the common name for crystalline mercuric sulphide?…and so on and on. Ad infinitum et ad nauseum. He is feeling distinctly queasy when it finishes. CMC and Presi tie for first place, followed by JU ‘A’ and a jaali team composed of one JU engineer, one IIM cat, one out of work journalist and somebody’s sister from JD Birla. Arani finds he is somewhere neat the end, saved only by the poor show of NRS who are demoralised by the lack of Ghosh. Even CNMC beats him.

The quiz is over. Tintin dashes off, muttering something about the writing the next instalment of his quiz saga. Debkumar and Jaideep Mukherjee have a friendly argument over who missed the most questions. They appeal to Arani to arbitrate, but he is in no mood. Dodging Saurav Sen and Ashok Malik who are busy thrashing out the vagaries of the Macedonian succession to their own satisfaction, he stumbles out into the pale discouraging monsoon daylight to hail a passing S14, smarting over the injustice of fate and resolving passionately to get his own back on Lachesis, Clotho and Atropos at the nearest opportunity.

The S14, clanking musically, bears him away from the scene of the fiasco and into the future.


Key
Arani Sinha—legendary quizzard from JU Engg. C1986-90. present whereabouts—somewhere in darkest America
Tall basketball player—Joy Bhattacharya (JU, Maths.), formerly with ESPN, now with History Channel
Saurav Sen (JU History, 1986-89)—probably the most knowledgeable man alive on the Wankel Rotary Engine (don’t even ask)
Jhantu aka Aveek Barman—currently head of NDTV Profit
K. Mallick, K. Ghosh, Meher Battiwala, Ranjan Roychoudury—all docs
Vikram Doctor—Doc by name but not profession (IIM, Cal); currently doing something media-ish
Koushik Bhowmik aka KouBhow—doctor turned French student turned film historian (CMC, JNU, Oxford)
Debuda aka Debkumar Mitra (JU, Maths)—the granddaddy of Calcutta quizzing; currently with Big Ideas
Devdaan Mitra—senior journo at Telegraph and giver of jobs to many JUDE alumni; be nice to him
Ashok Malik—(Presi. History), superb quizzard turned sangh parivar apologist journo. Sigh!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

BLANK NOISE PROJECT

If you have time enough, please read through the link list on this blog. I am apalled at how universal these experiences are. It seems to have happened to everybody and everybody has had the same things said to them, about dressing modestly and being careful and not attracting attention and nobody is ever encouraged to do anything about it.
Please read the blog. If the injustice of it all manages to make you angry enough you just might go out and do something about it.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Way to Dusty Death

I know it's not the cool thing to bring texts to class. I assure you this is not a cool course. It is a singularly unfashionable course.

- Sukantada, on his Macbeth course.



Ouch.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

see you on the 10th


“We have to wait”
“Whether we like it or not.”

We’re all waiting. All of us. I’m waiting for to be the next big thing in the Copywriting world. You are waiting for this play to be staged. The person next to you is possibly waiting to get back home. The person in front is waiting for a big wad of cash.

Didi and Gogo, two unidentifiable people are waiting for Godot.

But what happens when Godot dies? What happens when I know for certain that I will never get what I want? What will you do when you suddenly hear that this play will never begin? What will the person next to you do when he finds out his house has been burnt to ashes?

Do we stop waiting? Or do we wait for something else? Someone else?

The PlayMakers present Death of a Godot. A take off from Samuel Becket’s Waiting for Godot. A deconstruction if you will. It is through this play that you will see two very different people. Didi and Gogo. Didi, the somewhat dumb, but all knowing man and Gogo, the innocent and yet wise woman.

They are pilgrims. Like you and me. Dying to get back to their home. Like you. What they need are the keys. The keys of course, are with Godot. And that is why they must wait for him to come.

One wonders. WHY are Didi and Gogo homeless? Why don’t they have a home? Why do they sleep on this bench every night and why do they talk themselves to sleep? Did they have a home before? And if they did, why were they thrown out? Had someone committed a sin?
Only one man can answer these questions. Godot.

“He said that he would come today.”
Yes, he did. Or they think he did. But either way, the arrival never takes place. For reasons unknown, Godot dies.

The keys have not been left behind, so Didi and Gogo find themselves doing the inevitable. Waiting. Yet again.

However, Godot is not the only one who is killed. Pozzo is killed too. That just leaves Didi, Gogo and Lucky.

And you, the audience. The “Them”.
You who will come to watch not a play but glimpses of life. You, who “hold hands in the dark.” You who “kiss in the dark.” You who “talk in the dark”.

You become a bond, a fellowship, a brotherhood – but in the dark.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we present to you Death of a Godot. Sit back, relax and watch some people who are as lost as you or me.

It’s shocking.

Tickets are on sale. Rs 50.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Night Whispers

This is one of the stories that I'd written for RBC's Writing in Practice course last semester.Its a dialogue really.I thought I'd put it up.

-Is that you, Maya?
-Hello sweetheart.
-You don’t sound like yourself.
-That’s because I fell asleep waiting for you. What time is it?
-Just past twelve. I won’t disturb you in that case. Go back to sleep. We’ll talk tomorrow.
-No no. It’s perfectly alright. I’m awake now anyway. But I was pretty tired before. Considering all the late nights we’ve been having…
-Okay. Then let me hang up now so you can go to sleep.
-No. I’d much rather talk to you than sleep.
-Aww baby. You’re too sweet.
-Thank you [She giggles]. So are you. You’re really sweet. And cute. And handsome.
-Ahem. [An embarrassed clearing of the throat on the other side]
-No I am serious. I find you extremely attractive!
-Okay. Stop now. I’m already flying high.
[She laughs]-The party last night was fun though.
-Yes. It was amazing.
-And my friends have been teasing me endlessly since yesterday.
-Really? But what do they know? Did they see us err…you know…
-Yes! And they asked me about it. I denied it, but what’s the use?
-Oh my God! This is so embarrassing. How will I show them my face now?
-Just the way you showed them your face after I told them about our kinky phone conversation!
-Yes. That was really mean of you.
-But they are my closest friends. And it’s not like we were doing it- just talking about it. We just got a bit…carried away…that’s all.
-Hey, do you want to sleep with me?
-What!! We-e-e-ll…do you?
- Yes. I want to. But you know we can’t.
-I know honey. But I’m flattered that you would want to.
[A pause. She continues.]
-We got carried away yesterday. It wasn’t right. But the fact is, it was also amazing.
-I know. I…I wish we could do it again. It’s so tempting.
-So do I. It was such a beautiful kiss. It was like the whole world was going round us in a circle, and we were still. I wish the others hadn’t seen us though. Now we’ll never hear the end of it.
-Look, as long as our intentions are clear, and we are honest with each other, I think we are fine. As long as it isn’t harmful.
-So, darling, you mean to tell me that all this is harmless?
-Yeah sure.
[They both laugh. She continues.]
-Oh dear. This is such a crazy situation isn’t it?
-Yes it is. But I’m so glad I met you and found such a good friend in you.
-We’ll always be friends won’t we? I won’t ever let you leave me.
-I never imagined you and I could have something going. I’ve never done this sort of thing with anyone before.
-You think I have? I never imagined I could be the other woman in someone’s life. That is morally so wrong to me. But I can’t help it. I just let myself get carried away. Do you think that makes me a bad person?
- Of course not. You are a wonderful person. And we are just close friends
-Close friends who are attracted to each other and kiss as a result?
- But we both know what we are doing, right, so it will be fine. Relax.
-Its just that this is the first time in my life that I’m genuinely following my heart and not my mind. I’m being impractical by doing something morally incorrect, letting myself get carried away- and not doing a thing about it.
-You’ll be alright sweetheart. I won’t let you get hurt.
-Hmm. That’s what he used to say as well. That’s what they all say. I’m never going to have a serious relationship with anyone. I think the short flings are much more exciting.
-Like ours.
-It always comes down to the same thing, doesn’t it?
-Yes it does.
-I wonder why.
-Don’t. You had better go to sleep now, my dear.
-Yes. I supposed I should. Call me tomorrow, won’t you?
-Don’t I always, sweetheart?
-Yes you do. Goodnight.
-Sweet dreams.
The phones clicked, the bedside lamps were switched off, and a girl slept alone, dreaming of a man who slept in another woman’s arms.

And now for something completely different!


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ami likhi ni

There's a very tenuous link between insanity and sanity . My boro pishi Beli was very beautiful and given to the luxuries of life like fine sarees ( I have a few) and velvet mules and imported perfumes and cosmetics ( snow powder ?). Now Beli had been married at 12 and was a widow by 14 because her crook of a father in law had not told my grandfather that his son was on his last legs - with what I never could fathom out , despite my wicked ferreting ways as a child , and those who could tell me are all dead and gone , except Mili who's in her second childhod and far far away , both geographically and in her mind ...but I did glean this , she married a second time , this time , a widower with 2 daughters , he was a zamindar 's son with their ancestral house at Jongsherpur (??) and his mother would not allow her to have a child - since she was a widow and therefore maybe not a virgin (this was in the early 40s maybe) . So evertime Beli was pregnant her mother in law drugged her and got the dai to abort the foetus . She did this thrice before Mili got wise to what was going on and raised Cain . But by then the psyche , a little brittle perhaps had started to crumble ...she died mad in Lumbini Park many years later ... because her husband was dead and she was psychotic and it was not safe to keep her in a house which had kids ...
Shefali was scatty and glamorous and beautiful and hopelessly in love with one of the Panth boys who was a pilot ( he was another mad bugger, but thats another story ) - he used to fly his VTs over her house and drop flowers and scatty Shefali who never poured herself a glass of water so long she was in Dada's house had to sit with a ghunghat up to her belly button, rolling endless chapatis in Hari's mother's house - that was till Mili went, saw her and raised Cain (of course Mili raised Cain in her Mom in law's house, too). From rolling out of shape chapatis to giving birth to Khuku/Niru and then upping and dying suddenly, leaving a host of beautiful memories behind like heaps of rose petals ... that was Shefali. Indelible marker memories in her brothers' sisters' and mother's minds who filled my childhood with talk about Shefali, so that when I used to pore over her mother's Joy-scented photographs (yes Moni ma used to keep an open bottle of Joy in her trunk in one corner, I swear that trunk still smells of Joy after all these years) and open her copy of some poetry book,( forget the name, but it had a blue leather cover and was a longman's edition, pristine without ever a pencil scratch (which means she only mooned about Hari all the time)) I used to imagine I knew her.
My second pishi Mili was like Jo of Little Women. She looked after the house, and her assorted brothers, one younger sister and the older one, Beli. She married Pishamoshai who was the best Pisha anyone could ever have - I adored him, my husband adored him, and my girls loved him.
All of them were a bit wonky, that's what AG says - but they were terrific, brave people - all the men handsome and charming, all the women ,beautiful, - all with a tenuous hold on reality - one died young, one died in Lumbini Park, hopelessly insane and the other is old and frail, far far away, still guarding whatever memories she has and living in them far away from reality ... because that is all she has now that everyone is dead. Wherever you all are and that includes you, Ma, I'm raising a toast ... Prosit!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Bhwot In JUDE

The Charge of the Heavy Brigand:
An excerpt from my latesht blog post.... read all about it...
............"Then the Don entered the room. Everyone was silent, watching the fearful symmetry of the pointy beard.

Don: Shoi korle?? (Did you sign?)

Panu: ah.. yessir!!

Don: Sabai? (All?)

Panu: yessir!!

Don: Kata Jaal korle?? (How many did you copy??)

Panu: I-Uhhhhh…."

And other BHWOTing experiences as well ... Features rigging, pulling, singing, et al.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Alluder of Alliterations is here

I an impertinent UG1 have shamelessly and blatantly managed to cadge an invitation from Pradipta and forced myself into this hallowed company.. let the blogosphere beware.. The Alluder of Alliterations... is here

Anybody?

What say we get a yearbook? I'm willing to work...anybody interested?
And lets get some new t-shirts shall we?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Sickened Coming

Turning and turning the webspaceless gyre,

The Blabberbots cannot hear the Editors...

Blogs fall apart, Mere Templates cannot hold...

Abhijit Gupta is loosed upon this world.

Inspired by the Post made by our dear teacher.
We all love you Sir, really!! Welcome to our humble blog...

Friday, February 17, 2006

I think the idea of the Literature and Censorship blog is so cool...we should have things like that for our other courses as well!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

All mimsey were the borogoves

All please observe a minute's silence in memory of the passing of Jabberwocky Redivivus, the second avatar of the departmental magazine. 'Twas in the year 1989 that the then editor, in order to express solidarily with Salman Rushdie (who had been fatwa'd on Valentine Day 1989) also decided to close down his magazine and retire to an undisclosed place, with armed guards. There has since been no Jabberwocky...

train catching

few things to do when you miss your train:

never thought you'd need this huh? well you never know which bond flick script you might be writing next, so go on, take a look.

1. look for a auto driver who does NOT have a f****** cellphone. and even if he does have one, pray to god he does not use it when your rushing to catch the bloody train. ps: why does every soul down south have a frigging phone on them?!!!! were'nt we supposed to be a 3rd world country or something like that? news-flash: it's a totally different world that the south indian (read: bangalorean) auto drivers live in.

2. when you near the station and see a train at the platform from the auto, do not shout (with any form of conviction) "that's a local train". reasons? a) local trains don't have ac sleeper class coaches. b) they don't leave at the exact moment when your train is supposed to leave.

3. if you have any friends already on the train, they must NOT pull the chain. yes i know it looks tempting, but the 1000 rs. fine, especially when you're returning from a financially taxing trip, along with a month's imprisonment is not the ideal solution. go ahead and scream at them, but that red chain is a massive "no no".

4. oh by the way, if you're talking to those very friends on your phone dont ever say "no no, oh shit no!". the line might just get cut and even though you dont want the chain pulled, this could lead to a lot of very heated souls. a better choice? "pull, pull, yes, yes!" (and no, im not running a porno blog.)

5. this one's a beauty. look around for some nutcase who tells you "you're too early for tomorrow's train". boy, all that temper really gets the adrenalin rushing, and trust me, you need that for the rest of the pre-train journey.

6. suddenly see an apparition of a cabbie who's willing to drive you to the next junction for 600 bucks. (you cant be too sure if it's the same bugger who made that guiness record-winning joke). make a dash for it. dump you luggage and yourselves into some squishy omni and pray very hard. your back, butt, knees and leg might ache away to glory. but on the bright side, you won't realize that your whole body is aching. i dunno, but it's one of those crazy tricks tough situations pull on you.

7. looking for a variation? here's one. have one friend call his/her parents 5 mins before train's supposed to leave and say they've not reached station yet, and then have the line cut abruptly. then mistake their no. for your own parent's and actually take that damn call. after that i leave it to your imagination. i'd ideally tell them that we're safely on the train and then hope to high heavens they dont really figure out that no self respecting train ever has a blaring car horn.

8. now comes the interesting bit. look out for all the red lights. sigh. get furious, coz nothing's below 72 secs. then voila! you're past it! zooming ahead of those dumbjock drivers. try counting the number of lights you jump. but take my advice, dont try it. it's way more fun just looking outside open mouthed and thinking "boy, bond must've had one heck of a time!" but this one's seriously not for the faint-hearted. count on having lost at least a few years of your life on that ride. oh and, i know you'll not have the time, try and get the cabbie's address, just in case you want to post him a x-mas card. it's worth it. or better still, keep in touch coz you never know when you'll be late again.

9. once at the other station, run like crazy, bag and all. now you'll know why everyone tells you tyo travel light. but never mind, too late for regrets, just run. ok, when you're throwing your bag on to the tracks to run across the blessed train, never jump before bag. those things are bizarrely designed. even the devil could'nt pull them off the platform without yanking off his arms.

10. anyways, now next to the train. safe, right? wrong. indian railways is one of those things which just might not want your happiness, let alone have you go back home in one piece. they have these dastardly things called general sections. (once described very aptly as "general sex" compartments where the only criteria is that you have to keep up with the sex. think there are no takers for this theory? try contacting JU 3rd year english and ask for chicko.) so you haul yourself and your blessed bags onto this crazy contraption and look around. lo behold! there arent any passages between coaches! why? coz these damn things are'nt connected at all! so off you go again, this time looking for a familiar looking coach. by the time you locate one and are up, bags and all, the trains off again, chugging like a little ol' lady. but thankfully this time you're on it.

11. the last part's easy. just lug everything behind you and go on a cross-train sprint, looking for your compartment. now you know what the members of the fellowship felt like. you also know that once on the train there's no need to run any more, but somehow your body doesn't seem to respond to that logic. and that running with luggage between people who, lets' just say, love their inertia of rest, is a task that would challenge even hercules.

so now that you know what to do, try it sometimes. you could always reach on time, but hey this one's fun too. almost like a movie. especially so when im not in it.

ps: variation: after all this you're still adventurous? go into the next coach for a smoke late at night. finish, come out, and what do you see? you just saw a passage, now you don't. why? coz some jackass just wanted to shut the bloody connecting door. now, dont panic. if you're lucky, the train will have stopped at a station, you'll find some one willing to open the train door for you. a short jump, a quick jog, another jump up and you're home safe! see, it was'nt so difficult now, was it? now if you go into all the possibilities...the train not stopping at a station till say the wee hours of the morning...spending a night with perfect strangers...the train leaving without you on it...again...ah well life's a miracle, aint it!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Going South?

Wait, no. We went south. As far as supposedly cool Bangalore only to find it quite warm. It's a loooong train journey. You may want to amuse yourself with mp3 enabled mobile phones, handycams, handycam enabled phones, jokes, bad jokes, worse jokes and stuff that's still worse- but it's a long ride.Remember that. Always.
But then you get to Bangalore and things aren't that bad. You watch Jethro Tull, live in concert from behind the stage. I mean, everyone does watch it from in front so why would you do that?
Then you realise Ian Anderson's staying on the same floor (2 doors away from your's in fact.) So you generally listen to him practice in his room, chat with him, take snaps, get autographs and grin and sing praises...
One could also go to a Bryan Adams concert there. It's a lot of fun and well worth the money...
Oh, and watch out for the forthcoming documentary that may or may not be called 'Bangtrip.'No? How about 'Bangotrip' or 'Bangatrip?'And we wish we had read those very helpful hints on train catching posted on
http://thatsbecauseofthefanandeverything.blogspot.com/ . We might have been a little more relaxed.