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The Kolkata Traffic Policeman

Kolkata is a busy city. It is not as busy as any of the other Indian metropolises or even some of the other major cities of India. There are few industries left. So not many people from other states come to set up shop. Instead, the young and the educated leave the city for jobs in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. Among those who are left, no matter what, are the traffic policemen and women who patrol the city and maintain law and order. Their job is most challenging during the ten days of Durga Puja. Even though most of the police force is Hindu, they are barely able to celebrate the Puja the way we are able to.  The city is 'sensitive' and the traffic snarls that the city suffers makes their presence mandatory. In numbers that are greater than usual. The consequences of their deployment is felt right away. The cars move, the jams are reduced to a minimum and hooliganism is reduced. But all this comes at a cost. A cost to the men, women and even kids w

The Sound of Cooking

Professional videos should look good. That is obviously the conventional wisdom. And there is nothing particularly wrong with that either. But there is something we tend to miss often. Professional videos should have even better sound. Of course, one can excuse him/herself by stating that their videos are not meant to be of a great quality. But here's the problem. If you are shooting and sharing with friends and family, that is one thing. But if you wish to create a channel and you actually CAN do your stuff properly - you should take care about the metadata. YouTube channel owners should ideally consider their work as semi professional - especially if they ask for subscribers and likes in the video. Let's assume we (the audience) know that you know about your thing. Say you are a cook, as in the video below. The cooking skills are good, the location is nice, the camera angles are standard, the animations are good and video quality crisp. But what really lets the vi

Lets just stop insulting Biharis

Introduction It is the land of enlightenment, the land of higher education, of spirituality. It is the land of immense wealth, great architecture, the birthplace of several faiths, the land where research on astronomy, literature, math, general sciences and philosophy flourished. The land is not Greece. It is not ancient Rome, Egypt, Sumer, Mesopotamia, or even the Central Americas. The land rests today between two states in the Indian Union - between Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal; the Indian state of Bihar. This is a referenced article. For list of references, please check this link . Nalanda University - What remains of it, that is Bihar has since earned a terrible reputation. No amount of whitewashing will remove that stain. It is now known as the dacoits’ paradise, the land of hooligans, bad roads, caste and religious strife, rampant crimes against women and almost all the social evils that one can probably think of. However, Bihar was nothing like this. Or at least it

মিষ্টি দই আর ভাত

পরশু রাজুর ফাঁসি। এতদিন মনমরা হয়ে বসেছিল। এখন কিছুই মনে হচ্ছে না।  না ভালো, না খারাপ, কেমন একটা অদ্ভুত শুন্যতায় ঢেকে গেছে মনটা। এই বেশ. গতকাল বোন এসেছিলো। মা আসার কথা করেও আসেনি। আস্তে পারেনি। একমাত্র ছেলেকে এ অবস্থায় দেখা পঞ্চাশঊর্ধ মার্ পক্ষে সম্ভব ছিল না।  শুনানির আগে প্রতিদিন আস্ত। তবে পরে আর নয়। বোন বোরো ভাইয়ের দিকে আধ ঘন্টা তাকিয়ে ছিল কেবল। বলেনি সেরম কিছু। ফাঁসি ঘোষণার পরে হটাৎ বাড়ির লোকজন, পাড়া প্রতিবেশী সব কেমন চুপ হয়ে গেলো। গ্রামে অবশ্য ইতিমধ্যে প্রশাসনের বিরুদ্ধে মিছিল আন্দোলন শুরু হয়ে গেছে। সে খবর সেলিম সাহেব তাকে কিছু দিন আগেই দিয়েছিলো।  লোকটি বেশ ভালো।  ফাঁসুড়ের কাজ করেন। বছর কুড়ি আগে কোন ধর্ষণকারীকে 'ঝুলিয়ে' ছিলেন তিনি। কাউকে ঘৃণা করেন না।  কিছু মানেন না।  কালী ভক্ত।  রাতে নেশার ঘরে বাউল গীতি ধরেন।  রাজুর উনি একমাত্র বন্ধু। আগে খুব ভয় পেতো রাজু সেলিম ভাই কে।  পরে উনি বোঝালেন যে ঠিক সময় মালের বা আফিমের ব্যবস্থা হয়ে যাবে। ইনজেকশন এর থেকেও নাকি কম লাগে। উনি ছাই জানেন, মরেছেন নাকি কখনো? তবে অন্য উপায় ও নেই রাজুর। কয়েক সপ্তাহ বাদে ভয় তা শোয়ে যায়।  সিগারেট ও এমনক

Eat only what you can cook

People are alarmed at the supposed bans on meat in India. Actually, this is a trend all over the world. From China to Europe to the United States, countries are looking to cut meat consumption rather than promote it . Also, contrary to popular opinion, India has been one of the largest meat exporters in the world. India is also the largest exporter of beef in the world . That is something we need not be very proud of. I am not for a policy against meat consumption in general. I do discourage it, for  a variety of reasons. Religion is probably only a small part of it . In fact, except for beef, religion does not play a part here in any case. There are numerous pros and cons to both sides of the argument here. But there is something that should strike you. I am not sure if you have thought about it, but here’s a hypothetical thought experiment for you to ponder about. I give you (by you I mean a general test population of at least 50+ people) a variety of food items – that are

The postman, Megha and I

This is a story that goes way back to 2001 or 2002. I was in the sixth standard. Yes, I do remember it quite vividly. It was funny, painful and a bit out of the ordinary – basically it had all the ingredients that allows a memory to stick a great while longer than others. In the process of my recollection, I may miss out a few pieces here and there, but it will be pretty accurate. Of course, the intention of this exercise is in no way to humiliate anyone else or point out the flaws about others’ actions. I now find it hilarious and I think so would you. I studied in the Vivekananda Mission School, a private English medium school in Joka, on the outskirts of Kolkata. If you know the location of the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata, you know the location of my school. I studied there till the twelfth standard. We had many students in our class (sixth). We were divided into several sections, ranging from A to F (not sure if it was F or G). But anyway, I was in section B, the

Reforming the Indian Primary and Secondary Education System

The Indian formal education system has barely seen any fundamental reforms. Ever since Independence, the only changes that we have seen are the mid-day meal schemes and the Right to Education Act. The method of imparting education has remained pretty much the same (in many if not most countries) for decades. There are classrooms, with teachers for subjects. Students attend classes, take notes, study at home or in school itself, appear for exams, pass and graduate to the next class. This process continues to the twelfth standard till the end of school. This is basically the same thing that our fathers did as students. As did their fathers and probably our future generation will also do the same thing. But the flaws of this system are apparent. The students are given a one size fits all system in the length and breadth of the country (and perhaps even the world). This defies common logic. Localized customization is not only a luxury but should be considered a necessity. Student