Because every picture has a story to tell

A fresh Hi to all my readers! It’s been a long long LONG time since I have posted. And that’s because I have been insanely busy with work – I apologize. But on another side, from the limited free time I have, I still have been pursuing my photography and photoblogging. I recently revamped the entire website, giving it a facelift… what you girls call “a makeover”, and we guys call “a shower.”

I have started adopting a motif for my photos – every picture has a story to tell. I have done this only for the last few photos of the total 60-odd, but it is something I would like to pursue. This is the address to my photoblog:

The Matte Finish Photoblog

Please do give it a look, and I would love to hear your feedback – both on the photos and on the theme – with regards to what to add/remove or how I could improve it – what would you like to see etc. Now you could subscribe to its RSS feed, or you could simply “Like” the Facebook page – either way you can get an update if I post a new photo.

The Matte Finish Facebook Page

RSS Feed

I would love it if you also posted comments on the photos too! Every photo I take, will have a small musing/story alongside. Writing that story is one of my favorite parts of photography. I look forward to reading such comments from you, whether they are on facebook, or on the blog.

Here is a screenshot of the new Matte Finish Photoblog.

Oil spill: The bright side

I am making a brief comeback. Much as I love blogging and writing, my work has taken over my life right now, and I am barely even getting ideas to blog about. Here’s a small one. A PJ, if you will.
Given the current issues with the oil spill and global warming, I thought we Bengalis should make hay while the sun shines. British Petroleum, here’s a business proposition for you – start your sea food restaurant chain.

New age recipe

You don’t even have to do much. Mother earth is cooking it up for you.

I was assembled from parts

This post featured on BlogAdda’s Tangy Tuesday Picks.

When I was a kid, for a long long time I thought that the primary requirement for two people to be married was that they should have the same last name. That was until my mom told me that her maiden last name was Dutta, and that it changed to Sinha after she married my dad. I didn’t say anything, but I secretly liked Dutta better, simply because I found Utpal Dutta a lot better than Shatrughan Sinha. Also, Dutta was a common last name, unlike Sinha. I already kind of disliked “Kokonad” because it was so uncommon.

But this post is not about that.

I was a kid with a wild imagination. When I thought of child birth, I was under the impression that two people have to lie on bed together and poof, a child just happens. I had no idea how close to being correct I was. But then my question always had been – how did the baby know the parents were married? I had wondered so many times how I got there. My dad often mentioned that I was in my mother’s stomach when they went to Darjeeling and other beautiful places with my brother (I held that grudge against him for a long time and also for the fact that he ate for five years more than me). So that negated the theory of poof-a-child-just-happens. So instead, the explanation I gave to myself was that I was assembled from individual parts. I used to think that I was put together by a very able doctor and then put in my mother’s stomach to ‘fuse’. As long as the assembly was perfect with the bones aligned perfectly, the final product is commendable. My dad also kept saying that “I was almost born a girl”. See, this recurring statement of his was the one thing that reaffirmed my faith in creation-through-assembly. I thought that when they were planning on having me, they made a last minute decision in telling the doctor that they wanted a boy, and the doctor added the necessary attachments. And then I was put in my mother’s stomach yada-yada. I was only three but I found the idea of ‘fusing’ quite credible. Anyway, as I was writing this post, I decided I must know why he used to tell me that. I placed a call halfway around the world to ask him what did he exactly mean by that statement. Amidst pure confusion of being asked this question from nowhere, he told me that he was hoping to have a daughter, and got a son instead.

Like any other typical Indian family, my sex education at home as I grew up was absolutely fabulous. Yes, I know most of you will agree with me how our parents carefully and painstakingly avoided the topic of the anatomical wonder that is man (or woman). When we used to watch movies at home and there was an “ahem” scene, we used to leave the living room to drink a glass of water from the kitchen. If Durex or Whisper was showing an ad on TV during the break at prime time news, we looked distracted while our parents slyly changed the channel to see what else is on. Thanks to all the sanitary napkin ads, an acquaintance of mine was under the impression that women had blue blood. And here’s an embarrassing fact about me – when I learned about the menstrual cycle, I called up a female friend to confirm it. We have vowed never to speak of the incident again.

And here’s something I had been thinking about as I was writing this post.

We should all hibernate

I love watching people doze. So many funny things happen when you are dozing. In classes and meetings, when you are sleepy your attention span is less than 8 seconds (think about it, it really is!). And you gradually phase out. You just had an awesome lunch with butter naan, and all your blood is mostly in the stomach. The little blood remaining is in your eyes and oh boy your eyes are bloodshot. You know why dozing people look like they are high? Because dozing people raise their eyeballs and eyebrows, but forget to raise their eyelids. So you basically get to see eye-whites, half open eyelids, and ridiculously raised eyebrows. All dozing people have severely arched eyebrows; look out for it the next time! Anyway, you decide to skillfully rest your head on your hand so that your overall posture looks “interested”. Then about 2 minutes later your head loses all balance and drops like a cabbage on the desk. You regain an awakened state and very slyly put your hand on the left side of your face (or the right side, depending on which side has more people) and pass out in seconds. You think no one has seen you, but you have a bunch of people nudging their neighbors to look at you. With your hand almost clutching your hair to prevent the head from falling, you are a laugh riot. With those raised eyebrows.

Poor you.

Since the dawn of time, man has loved to sleep. In fact we like to sleep even more when we have work to do. Now that winter is here, temperatures in my city have started going below freezing and I can’t help but think, why is it that humankind has never hibernated? It would save us from the trouble of waking up early for an 8:00 AM class at temperatures of -20 C. We should hibernate in winter. It’s so simple. And so advantageous.

Firstly, well, we get to sleep. For hours. We can go to bed in late November, and wake up in early March or something. For the late risers, they can wake up in April. In fact when they go back to work they can say, “Well, I would have come in March, but my alarm clock didn’t ring“, or “Yeah… sorry, I decided to sleep in.”

Secondly, your body ends up using all the stored fat while you are asleep and wakes up when there is no more stored fat. So basically it’s an excellent way to burn fat (who would have thought!).

Thirdly, well, we get to sleep. For hours.

Of course, according to whatever I researched on hibernation, I learned that your body figures out a way to recycle it’s wastes and your kidneys work excellent in maintaining water levels etc. I really think we should all give this a shot. There is one detail I did miss out, you need to put a plug up your butt. Yeah. You really need to. Bears use hair and grass and mud and old fecal matter. We can of course, have Apple build it – the iPlug. We could request features like internet capability and vibrating alarm. Or we could have Microsoft build it, but you would have Home edition, Professional edition and the Ultimate edition. I don’t even want to think what the Ultimate edition would have, but it would cost $399.99.

Amidst all this, I just thought about this thing. How much we would like to sleep as a function of our age. I spent most of my childhood not wanting to sleep, and now I am spending most of my non-childhood wanting to sleep. Life is unfair.

Sleep

Much ado about an ankle

I had an ankle surgery earlier in September. An old sports injury aggravated and it required me to get it fixed as soon as possible. The stupid pain killers shut off my brain and I could get nothing done apart from turning left to right on bed. Eventually I also could turn right to left.

Turns out there are 4 titanium screws in my foot. Once the reality of that fact sunk in, the first thing I thought of was Wolverine. But then it does not make me any where as cool as him. I cannot extract-n-retract my screws like Wolverine does with his claws. And even if I did, what would I do with them? Hang pictures? And of course, I am not even venturing into the thought of which screwdriver I would need to screw them back in. You never find one when you need one.

SecuritySurprisingly, when I told about these screws to people, the most common first response I got from them was – “How would you ever clear the metal detector in the airport?” Of all the questions to ask, that was the first. I wouldn’t blame anyone. I got that question in my head too.

Unfortunately I have much bigger problems at the airport to deal with, especially in the US/Europe. The image of the checklist here will explain it all. At least I did not set off the metal detector before. Now I have to deal with that too. Security is going to have a Mardi Gras tasering me all the time, and with me being tall, there’s so so much of me to taser around. I am a walking taser fest for them.

The plus side of this surgery has been that I have had a month off from work (I had no choice actually). I have had the time to reflect upon …er… never mind. Several things upset me. My cast was cut for inspection recently and I saw that the surgery has left a pretty big scar on my ankle. Not that I have/want/need Aishwarya Rai like ankles, but I could see a scar on my foot. I hate scars. They remind people of things. My friends have tried hard to cheer me up. This is the gist of the conversation that happened with a friend when I told him of my deep stirring feelings about the scar.

“Dude, this is a great opportunity. Chicks dig scars!”
“Yeah, but to show this scar I really have to flash my ankle around. And that’s not normal. And it’s not eccentric either!”

Now I could keep flashing my ankle around, but I have never actually heard the the expression “Did you see the ankles on that guy? They are HAWT!” (Girls, please back me up here.) I do realize that scars make great first impressions. But I don’t see a reason to show my ankle ever, in a first meeting. It is just impossible for my ankle to come up in an appropriate way unless I am having a conversation with my doctor. Of course, she wouldn’t dig the very same scar she caused.

Another friend told me that my market value has increased. He literally meant it, because titanium is expensive. It was his attempt at cheering me up. Well, he tried. Can’t blame a guy for trying. Another very dear friend of mine has a naturally seductive voice and she (effortlessly and unknowingly) makes the word “langda” sound very very very sexy. Thank you for that. :) Meanwhile, my friends have received strict instructions now that they are not supposed to ask me (any more) “Tera screw dheela hai kya?” It’s personal. Nor are they supposed to say that they are screwed. That too is personal. (See footnote for translations)

[Footnote for translations]
1. Tera screw dheela hai kya?
Literally speaking, this means “Are your screws loose?”
Metaphorically speaking, this means “Have you lost it?”
2. “Langda” means lame person.

Take that picture again!

Delete that photo

It’s a party. Or an outing. All of you who have digital cameras obviously love your cameras and love taking pictures. Whether it is a single profile shot, or a small group shot, you are often told to delete a pic. These are some of the issues because of which I am told to take a picture again, and delete the previous one. Now analyzed by gender.

Guys’ complaints:
1. I blinked
2. Photo blur
3. Dude, I am not in the frame

Girls’ complaints:
1. My shoes are not visible
2. My shoes are visible
3. My smile is weird
4. My laugh is weird
5. My hair is not proper
6. My eyes are weird
7. My nails are not done
8. My nails are done
9. Uncool dress
10. Unhot dress
11. She looks cooler
12. She looks hotter
13. The left side of my face is weird
14. The right side of my face is weird
15. I don’t like my face from the front
16. I don’t like your face from the front
17. Unknown reason (won’t tell)
18. I blinked

Girls, you look absolutely fabulous. We guys love to have you in our photos, and we admit we generally don’t have an eye for detail(led flaws) – but we earnestly love to see you with that carefree laugh, with the surprised look or that absolutely mesmerizing stray lock of hair. Ladies, you look gorgeous. Always. You brighten up our photos. You bring life to them. :) Guys, back me up on this.

If the Ramayan were on Facebook

This post featured on BlogAdda’s Spicy Saturday Picks. Thank you Nikita, for tipping BlogAdda! :)
ssp

When I first thought of this idea, I intended to write the Mahabharat this way. Then I thought of writing World War II, then Indian Independence struggle and finally Jaswant Singh’s political fiasco with BJP. But then the plots are SO LONG! The Ramayan has a much more manageable plot, in comparison. And hence I have before you, if the Ramayan were to have an event update like Facebook, how would it be like! It’s a lot of work, doing it with the appropriate icons and the appropriate style. I tried to do it in the original Facebook template – but it was getting really difficult, thanks to my limited knowledge in coding. I hope you like it! :) If you wanted to distribute this document, I would be grateful if you did it with a link to this post. Thank you!

This is an embedded PDF document, using Scribd which is a very versatile tool. You can view this document by zooming in and out, scrolling and even toggle full screen mode. Look for these icons on the top! If you are reading this through your reader or a non-native place, the embedded document may not be visible, in which case you might want to read the original post.

Edited to add – This post has become popular beyond what I could ever ever imagine. I thank every one for forwarding this around via Facebook, Twitter and emails! Thank you, and I am glad this article made you laugh, or at least smile. Krish Ashok of “Doing Jalsa and Showing Jilpa” fame did the Facebook Mahabharatha over a year ago. And that looks exactly like the Facebook format, and is outright hilarious!

Disclaimer: I have received a comment or two where people have found it a HUGE MISTAKE not to include the story of Kaikeyi and Dasarath and the two other wives. Here’s an addition from my side: I also did not include the story of Hanuman carrying Mt Gandhamadhana which had the flower Sanjivani to cure Lakshman of his coma during battle, either. I covered it all up in “Show 43 similar posts”
I decided to drop out the story behind Ram’s exile and the details of the war simply because this story is long as such, and I didn’t want my story to be longer so as to lose my reader. Referring to other comments, this is not to be taken as factually accurate, nor should it be considered to be educational. I wrote it for fun, just for generating a laugh or two. I do/did not intend to make mirth of the religious text of Ramayan. This article does not intend to portray any sort of disrespect towards religious sentiments. I hope you enjoy this article as a humorous piece, more than anything. Please read this in a light vein.

Next Page »