Nagpur!

The “firsts” in everyone’s life are always special and most exciting. First day in college, first date, first love, first salary and so many more. They always hold a special place in your heart. Visiting Nagpur was one of those. My first trip alone. Yes, all alone! Nagpur is where my childhood best friend Rheya is studying. She’s in third year, Architecture. We’ve really been friends since forever, right from the time we wore pink frocks and ran around collecting flowers in baskets. So, visiting her city once was a necessity to put a face to all the names I’ve heard of from her and to relive all her college escapedes.

Rheya. This was a day we sat in a lovely cafe called mocha and chatted for hours!
Rheya. This was a day we sat in a lovely cafe called mocha and chatted for hours!

We came up with the idea, primarily over a phone call, not really expecting it to take such concrete shape. But eventually it did. And I had one of the most fun trips ever! Visiting Nagpur was special in so many different ways. It started with mom worrying if I’ll be able to keep my boarding pass safely. She still thinks me to be a five year old. Then the first flight alone and a best friend coming to receive me at the airport. After I reached her flat (which they’ve named Gaya Maya for some inexplicable reason), I received the best and warmest welcome i could ever had anticipated, from her roommates. They had a dance prepared, just for me! These were 7 girls who had just heard about me from Rheya, and for them to do so much, was a real surprise. Everyone dreams of living life alone at a hostel sometime in their lives. I got a taste of that in this short trip. From eating out of dabbas, cleaning a few dishes, the scramble for the washroom in the morning and the strong bond of friendship that unites flatmates, I witnessed it all. I was overjoyed when Danica and Chinmayi, decided to take the day off just to spend time with me. We visited a lake and Seminary hills and clicked lots of pictures. Danica is a girl, who has a particular way of talking that’ll make you laugh every two minutes. Chinmayi is a sweetheart and extremely photogenic. These two start dancing and can put up the craziest show ever!

Chinmayi. A happy go lucky girl, who was the only vegetarian among us!
Chinmayi. A happy go lucky girl, who was the only vegetarian among us!
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Danica. Has a very fashionable hairstyle and can make you laugh a lot!

Another highlight of the trip was obviously lots of food. From cafes and restaurants to sampling Rheya’s cooking, my tastebuds had a joyride too. We had everything from Chinese to Indian and others. I particularly loved this cafe called The Breakfast Story, which boasts of the best decor I’ve come across in a long while. It’s menu card resembles a collage from pages out of a magazine, a typewriter waits beside the door where you can type your feedback, a wall is covered with newspapers from around 50 countries and the bill comes inside a Reader’s Digest!

The menu card. The most innovative and colourful I've seen in along while!
The menu card. The most innovative and colourful I’ve seen in along while!
The wall with numerous newspapers! source- Their facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/thebreakfastorynagpur
The wall with numerous newspapers! source- Their facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/thebreakfastorynagpur

We partied one night at her flat and I even painted some of her college work. I met two other lovely persons, Drishti and Abhinav who were sweet enough to come and drop us to the airport! I realized how much fun staying with friends can be. And of course, catching up with Rheya and just chatting for hours has it own charm. I’ll probably go back again someday! This trip gave me memories to last a lifetime!

The Great Indian Chamcha

“If you can lose your head when all about you
are keeping theirs and blame it on them.
If you can doubt yourself when all men trust you
and not make allowance for their trust.
If you cannot fill the unforgiving minute
with sixty seconds worth of distance run.
Yours isn’t the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And ­-which is more ­-you will be a Chamcha, my son!”

So, in the life of The Great Indian Chamcha, there are broadly two most important clauses. Clauses he abides by, and follows with all his heart.
Clause 1- The master is always correct.
Clause 2- Under extreme circumstances of trouble or turmoil, you consider the master to be incorrect or mistaken, refer closely to Clause 1.

Chamcha, a Hindi word, translates directly to spoon in English. Spoon is something that you usually use as a part of cutlery to eat your meals. Thus spoon is basically a side kick to the obviously more important food used by the consumer of the meal.  Now our Hindi spoon or Chamcha has similar implications. The Great Indian Chamcha is a human being who basically assists and accompanies another supposedly superior human being, in hope of rewards and benefits. He is incapable of using his own brains, or rather voicing his own opinions. They are necessary to boost their masters’ self confidence and always be there in support. So clearly, Indian cuisine may or may not require chamchas, but Indian people with means definitely do.

Chamchas, can be found in every nook and cranny. From professional lives to personal, from office to home and everywhere else. At home, buttering is often the tool employed by the youngsters to impress their parents. In the office, they run around the boss, offering him tea at regular intervals and praising every decision. In public life, certain political groups have dedicated chamchas who have the ability to distort whichever language they speak in, using unparliamentary parental and grandparental references. For obvious reasons, I cannot cite an example. Just wait for the next festival in your locality for a “mouth­watering” experience.

Chamchas in this country, much like corruption, start from the very grassroot level. Chamchas in school are generally of two types. First kind, those who find solace in being the teachers’ lapdog and as a result find no friends but high marks.The second type is interesting. In middle school, the first male or female to find a partner of the opposite sex has chamchas because he or she then officially becomes the unofficial role model to his/her batchmates. Fast forward to college, the dude whose father has an augmenting bank balance and the dudette who has unnaturally good looks and skimpy clothes naturally becomes the one with chamchas.  Remember Kareena in Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham or Megan Fox in Confessions Of a Teenage Drama Queen? These women repeat and copy their mistress in every aspect and sometimes, expressions too!

The "Quen Bee" in college, followed by her loyal supporters. Sketched by me.
The “Queen Bee” in college, followed by her loyal supporters.
Sketched by me.

This article was written in haste and every word was meant in good jest but I am sure if Shylock was alive today, he would go on to say, “Hath not a chamcha eyes…”

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This is an entry to the The Great Indian Blogging Contest, as a part of the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival 2015.
http://www.aklf.in/ , http://www.facebook.com/GreatIndianCircus
http://www.kolkatabloggers.com

Woof!

Once upon a time, I used to be petrified of dogs. So the first time I met Puggy, I remember being frozen in one spot, unable to move and scared at how excited he was. He ran all around me, wagging his tail and trying to lick me. He gets super excited at the sight of anybody new in the household.

Puggy. Eager and warm, always!
Puggy. Eager and warm, always!
One of the first few days spent with him. Had just gotten over the fear of him jumping around.
One of the first few days spent with him. Had just gotten over the fear of him jumping around.

Eventually, I started looking forward to that familiar excitement. I looked forward to the warm welcome and those adorable eyes. He sits down calmly after the first few minutes of jumping around. There was a day he fell asleep on my lap. There was one sleepover where he kept licking my ear while I tried to sleep. He is one of those, who never got enough of me and would show equal enthusiasm every time I visited Toshani’s place.

Toshani, one of my close friends, is the “mom” of Sparky (that’s officially his name, but we end up calling him a variety of names). From being someone who was very scared of dogs, I became a dog lover. I learnt how to pick him up in my arms alone too!

Toshani even told me of a day when he got angry at her after we left thinking she’d sent us away. Puggy’s love for us is literally unconditional. You cannot be mad at it for too long. You’ll always give in to those loving eyes. He will never expect anything from you except a little bit of love and affection.

The sleepover day.
The sleepover day.
That's Toshani in the picture on the left.
That’s Toshani in the picture on the left.

You tickle him a little behind the ears, and he’ll fall asleep in your lap.

Happiness, is a warm pug.

Happiness, unadulterated.
Happiness, unadulterated.

New Stories.

Every new year, brings with it new beginnings and new stories. Each one of us hopes for changes that never occurred in the past year, and some amount of constancy too. The beginning of a year, thus, brings in a lot of new hopes. Hopes, that primarily revolve around finding happiness.

Here’s the challenge though. We tend to miss the happiness along the way because we’re too busy looking for it. There’s happiness to be found in the first rains of the monsoons, warm chocolate at the end of a tiring day, delicious food, tight hugs, colours, emotions and observing smiles. There’s happiness in bringing happiness to others.

New resolutions made, and new promises of trying to become a new person.
Changes will occur, but not all of it will be desirable. Funny part is, end of the year, you’ll probably find yourself happy and in the company of loved ones.

Mostly though, your year will consist of various stories. New chapters and new characters. There’ll be new people, new opportunities and some endings too. There’ll be stories spilling over from the previous year and others that’ll continue for longer. You’ll encounter plot twists, complications, adventure, dilemma  and humour too. Not all chapters need to be equally interesting as then the charm will be lost. Try and let it remain a blend of happiness, sadness, the good and the bad. Dont get too engulfed in the negativity, as there is never anything gained in dwelling in the sad times. Rejoice in the happy ones. Make these stories worth remembering. Write the book of the year as one that’s worth remembering.

Here’s saying cheers to hopefully, what’ll be a great 2015!
A very Happy New Year.

One of my favourite pictures of 2014. Perfectly portrays the joy the sun and waves can bring! Clicked by my dad, Saikat Bhadra.
One of my favourite pictures of 2014. Perfectly portrays the joy the sun and waves can bring!
Clicked by my dad, Saikat Bhadra.