Dream, Life experience

A short story of a revelation

I had a bad dream last Sunday. I always try to find out the reason behind all dreams, but it was one of the rare occasions when I didn’t find any. Here is what I saw:

I was standing on a foot over-bridge, which is unusually high. Standing beside me, was my daughter-about 12 years old. We stood there, static, with an ever-changing flux of people behind us and cars beneath. And we stood there like forever as if the time had stopped, and nothing changed except the colourful haze of figures and patterns at the background. It was a sunny day, and there were no shadows, shades of light and darkness, everything appeared bare under the stark sunlight. Suddenly she appeared-it was a long take, and it seemed that she’s been walking towards the bridge for years. Holding her hand was her daughter, she seemed younger than mine, but her figure seemed smaller. I looked at the woman; though all I could see clearly was her blue blouse and her long black skirt, her body seemed so known to me…and she walked towards us. Suddenly the colour of the sky took a reddish tint, and the halo covered the sky up to the farthest horizon. Everything came back to its normal pace-we saw people walking by, saw her crossing the road, crossing the tram tracks. We watched her more eagerly, for every step she took, she was a step closer to us. Just before she came just under the bridge, it appeared, that though the lateral distance was fathomed, our paths didn’t meet because we were separated vertically. and then they were gone. We went back to the old Eternia- stark daylight, the hazy flux of people and cars.

When I woke up, the pain was almost physical. It was reminiscent of a broken family, hope to get bring it together, and then the pang of an end to the hope. From the feelings, it seemed that it was quite a long time since our family broke up. Perhaps it was the effect of a film I watched that evening that had a similar slow-motion crossing, but why children? I don’t know. But finally, I drew a conclusion, which has nothing to do with relationships but lines and planes. Apparently lines take any direction, but it’s the planes that hold them. Whether two lines meet at a point, that depends on whether the planes meet. But so are human lives. We can only move along straight lines, but the planes that contain us, are our destiny…

Life experience, Nature


A friend told me once, that nature sustains me. I couldn’t agree more to her statement. I think growing up alone, without siblings, without friends made me drawn towards nature. It was like being mesmerised, sometimes suffocated by the beauties of nature. Nature evoked a sense of awe within me.

Perhaps the tie began when my father started taking me to the bank of the river, and we watched the sunset, an occasional passage of a train over the bridge on the river – miles ahead. And he used to tell me that the train is going pass through the reserve forest of Bethuadahari, and I visualised deers, snakes, wild boars.

Then, when we moved to Calcutta, everything appeared so artificial. So, every Saturday we used to board bus no. 39 and go to Babughat, by the river Ganges. The Calcutta port was alive then, and I watched with wonders, huge ships those were going to cross seven seas. In the evening, when darkness fell, the ships used to blow the siren, and the flowing river twinkled with the lights from those ships.

As it is appearing, nature is the second nature to me, I’m not going to discuss in detail anymore. I rather want to put the focus from a new angle. Unlike most Bengalis, I didn’t get to travel to different parts of India. Yet, I was able to cherish the beauties around me. Though they weren’t diverse, they were distinct. I still get lost when it rains on a gloomy evening, I still feel like gasping when everything turns golden after an afternoon shower and the whole city seems like a huge mirror reflecting the sunlight in all directions.

So, when I was to deliver a lecture in a training session about the most memorable day in my life, I could only think of a day related to nature. I’ll share that experience later but till then…Hail my tryst with nature!!


Was it apathy or lack of love??

I encountered a strange feeling today. In my last blog, I wrote about the presentation concept. There was one person who shared the saddest moment of his life; it was when he lost his mother. He started off nicely, contrasting the day with India’s 20-20 win etc, and then went into finer details. After a 5 minute stint, he broke off in tears, with trembling voice…etc

During this whole incident, I saw that people around me are very compassionate about that person, there was a lull inside the seminar hall. But well, I found it very unprofessional and disturbing. First, the loss of his mother may be a sad moment for him, but it must also be very private. Why should one invoke and cry? Secondly, I felt like screaming at his face, “why are you mentioning this moment? Loss of your mother is an unavoidable fact. How can it be your saddest moment? Look at me, I have lost my mother, yet my saddest moment would be when I did not do well in the HS exams”.

What’s wrong with me? Why am I devoid of sentiments that most people possess? On the other hand, I’m a bundle of sentiments, I take things seriously quite often; get disturbed, dismayed, distracted; I even cry. So, why this bipolar disposition? Why am I so dispassionate about my mother? Maybe because it was too private and precious for me to dig the memories up, perhaps I was relieved that she went away, perhaps my life is so dependent on “Myself” that there is not much space for other persons that could affect me greatly…

What’s wrong with “I”? Perhaps “I” is the only problem. I don’t know yet. Maybe one day I will…

business, presentation skill

Corporate Grooming

Today I spent a day packed with surprise. Last Friday I was told about a training programme about personal effectiveness, but no one had any air about what it was about. Until yesterday it appeared like just another seminar or training programme where one could enjoy a good buffet lunch and get to sleep. In fact, it was designed for all segments of employees and strangely enough, I was kept in the juniors’ what made me pretty dismayed. In fact, I later found that there were 4 persons whom I have selected in a campus interview. So, that was pretty uncomfortable!!

Surprisingly enough, when I reached the Hotel Lindsay, I had a hunch that it’s going to be something else. I found that it’s rather a personality grooming programme in a business environment. We started off with the introduction, most did it in a trembling voice and most had an interest in “watching cricket”!. Then the guide introduced himself, and it was surprising to know that he is a Mechanical engineer, a PG diploma holder in Hotel management, had been a professor in Oxford school in hotel management, did a diploma in entrepreneurship, did his MBA in HR and had been a HOD or HR dept in the same college….and he has been to 40 countries and speaks 9 languages!!!

He took us into the intricacies of business etiquettes like answering telephone calls to dressing up for formal business meetings. I found my ideas about dressing up fairly matched with the things he said in the class; though I never wear it! Then we went on to the business grooming and lots of pics were there, kinesics, occulesics, and many more (eeeks!!!). Yet, I found those lessons invaluable and a must for a huge set-up like ours. The concepts of correct eye-contact, voice modulation, connecting to the crowd are really helpful in the long run. I was, in fact, devouring the details like a greedy monster because I knew if I were to go to the UK, these skills that are being considered as “soft-skills” will be rather “necessary skills”.

Three most interesting events conducted on today’s programme were business writing, dining etiquette and presentation skills. While I learnt many things about business communication and writing like emphasising on “you”, making “I” factor invisible, communicating directly, avoiding negative words…I thought these were pretty commonplace concepts. It was very shocking to find out that only a few follow them. Then came the dinner etiquettes. Who could have imagined western dining could be so frustrating!! This fork, that plate, that goblet…ohh! Thank god we didn’t practice the entire lunch in that manner. The last part of the programme was a business presentation. That part was fabulous. It was time to exercise and implement all the tools we learnt throughout the day. The topic was “the happiest or saddest moment of my life”. I related to nature with Milan Kundera I’m reading now; it was a fine speech, complete 5 min long, but it only had some unwanted hand postures and characteristically I strayed a bit! Then we saw our videotaped presentations and pointed out our mistakes. That was fun, as I happened to be the most finicky judge of the lot!!!

Well, that’s about it. It also made the employees of different divisions come together. All came to know that someone person went to Indian idol finals and had to come back for exams, someone is a national swimmer and tennis player and three years state champion, someone is a plurilingue (don’t know the English), someone’s IAS brother in law sent detectives to his college, someone wrote his phone no on a bus ticket and threw to the girl sitting opposite him in a bus and they are great friends now….but one last thing that emerged out of the videotapes, that we all have a round midriff!! Jokes apart, this was a great experience and it widened the path for business excellence…

calcutta, Memory, Nostalgia

Nostalgia or stagnation??

Last Sunday, 2nd March I went to watch “Vantage point”, a thriller movie, in New Empire. Well, this s been my most frequent pastime since I came back to Calcutta in 2000. And I always follow the same route. A bus to the flea market under 4no Bridge, cross the rail tracks with small shops of fish and beef and Attars on both sides-then take an auto-rickshaw that passes through the most culturally, religiously diverse areas of Calcutta – Park circus, Circus Avenue, Elliott road, Ripon st, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai road to Esplanade. Those streets remained the same as I’ve been seeing then since last 15 years.

The movie was quite interestingly told, analysing a 23min duration event from a different angle. The story started to take a twist when I found the yellow rectangle with “Interval” written on it. The low wattage bulbs were lit…people started to move out of the theatre to grab some chips and coke. As I remained in the seat, the gloomy lights suddenly reminded me of that dreamy scene of “La vita e bella”, the unforgettable red carpet scene. And it suddenly felt like a dream, that it’s not 2008 but 1993- the worn out and broken seats, dimly lit interior, same Mariah Carey tracks-everything was just the same even 15 years ago. maybe people didn’t carry cellphones with them, but they bought the same chips that smell of oil. And it suddenly appeared to me, that the people have not changed at all. perhaps I’m changed somewhat. The shy 15-year-old student who came to watch Batman and Robin and the 30-year-old engineer watching Vantage point are not the same persons, but the crowd, their collective character has not changed.

I was thinking, these small moments, snapshots evoke nostalgia. But then, it also means that it keeps us tied to the past. Setups of a hall remind me of a day 15 years ago; it certainly connotes that no improvement took place in the last 15 years. With the rest of the world moving fast ahead, some part of Calcutta is stuck to their ’70s state. In every building complex, shopping complex, new multiplexes come up. On the other hand, the old halls of Calcutta are being closed because of employee strike or being transformed into another shopping mall.

Well, it certainly means stagnation to some extent, yet I would love as long as the people sustaining it continue to live happily and thrive. I want to continue walking along the muddy streets behind New Market, I would love Nizam to get back it’s older look and older menu (it’s NO BEEF tell me that I can’t eat beef anymore anywhere), I want Society and Chaplin and Jamuna to open again and Society gets its huge porch reconstructed, I want the streets of central Calcutta to remain narrow and cracked along the tram tracks…and yes, the rest of the city can prosper, I don’t mind that! Coz the rest is not my part of the world.

French, Language, Memory

My first French text (2002)

Je ne vais pas axe.
Quel l’heure ?
Ils sont de calcutta.
Nous habitons à park.
Je suis vingt-trois ans.

Hi ! Je m’appelle subhadeep. J’habite à Calcutta, en Indien.J’ai grande, gros et J’ai les yeux bruns. J’ai la brune cheveux. Je suis de Londres mais J’habite à Calcutta. J’ai vingt-trois ans. J’aime le football, le musique, le cinéma, des femmes la belle mais Je n’aime pas le cricket. Je suis un ingénieur et travaille à DCL.Je parle bien anglais, bengali, hindi mais Je ne parle pas français. Je déteste grandes familles. Je n’ai pas marié mais J’ai dans beaucoup amoureux avec une femme June. Elle est grande, petite, brune et beaucoup charmant. Elle a les yeux marron. Ou vous arrivez Calcutta, viens nous plaçons. Moi père est un employé de l’office. Moi mère ne travaille pas. J’aime moi père et mère. Je n’ai un frère ou une sœur. Tu arrives à quel jour ? Nous partons en travailles à Calcutta le 10 mai. Moi cher a une très bien frère. Lui les yeux est bleu. J’en train d’aimerai sa. Je voudrais vais beaucoup d’argent. L’appartement de moi est petit mais je voudrais achète une grande. Le vais aurai 23 ans le dimanche prochain. Tu veux prends le petit déjeune. Nous en train d’irons à Bombay le mois prochain. Ici, le vin est très bon. Tu vas parles anglais ? Maintenant j’en train de travailler. Je sais très bien qui elle va beaucoup d’argent. Je suis dans amoureux avec une belle fille. Je marierai à’elle après les deux ans, si elle veut. L’est une grande église ce qui très vienne. Je viens de déjeune au restaurant. Nous irons aux Etats-Unis les ans prochainement qui est un chic pays pour visiter. Ma chérie habite à ce pays. Vous prenez-moi un peu d’eau. Nous en train d’aller à la chute d’eau. Je ne bois pas le vin, il peut supprimer vous. Un jour Je crois qui quelqu’un en train d’essayer achète ma voiture. Elle vient à un beau métro appelé Bombay. Je me ne suis pas a Bombay pour les trois ans. Le père de ma chérie a cinquante-six ans et il a beaucoup de bête. J’aime vitesse dans vie. Une vie sans la vitesse est. Je me ne sais pas le temp. Qu’est-ce que tu fais à dimanche prochain ? Si tu ne vas occuper nous voulons déjeuner au restaurant.

Un bien matin J’ai allé au magasin en achète un peu de bonbon. Ceci Je vais vu une petite fille. Elle a belle et jeune mais elle n’a pas d’argent en achète les chaussures qui elle veut. Bienvenue de internet.