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Thursday, February 22, 2007


This year's Book Fair was not looking like one. It seemed like a normal fair that was unable to draw people to it. I had the opportunity to visit Book Fair 2007 with Gaurav and stayed there from 2.00pm till 9.00pm on Sunday the 18th of Feb, 2007.

The poor infrastructure at Salt Lake Stadium made the fair look lean. Maidan, where the book fair is held every year has its own charm. No other fair grounds can ever have the same charm or copy the charm from maidan. People travel by Metro Rail to visit the book fair at maidan each year which was something people missed a lot this year.

Even the collection of books were less compared to the previous years. Leading publishers were also not seen this year.

Firstly, a fishy stinking smell was coming out from the mud and the sand that was laid before the stalls. The lanes between the stalls were narrow, that made it difficult for the crowd to pass during peak hours. Only one good thing was that there was no puddles here and there that is a common site in Maidan.

Another thing that draws praise is the paper-pickers who picked the papers lying here and ther on the ground. The collected the papers to keep the place clean. They were sponsored by a leading FM Station. (I don't remember the name) . Those paper-pickers did a great job.

The toilet facilities were good for the males, but I saw a great queue in front of the female toilet. Only the authorities knows the actual reason.

The price of food items touched the sky. Cost of any food items was charged twice their normal price. This is a common phenomenon seen in Kolkata nowadays. The food items have become really costly. It is really difficult for the middle class people to afford them. The quality was also lacking.

There were only about 900 book stalls but most of the book stalls were extended around the stadium making most of the people unaware of the stalls there. So many remained aloof of the stalls around the stadium. All the people concentrated on the stalls that were erected behind the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

There was a grass field where couples and lovers haad the good opportunity to sit together and chat their heart out. This grass field was behind the stadium and was secluded from the main fair which made the couples have a good time.

While returning there were absolutely no transport facilities by the transport department and most of the people has to return to the next more (crossing) by walking and catch a bus or a cab from there. As for our case, we had to walk till Beliaghata CIT More to catch an auto to Sealdah. Others had to walk till Phoolbagan or Ultadanga or Chingrighata to catch a bus or auto to their home. The inadequate transport facilities disappointed the enthusiastic crowd.

Next day, I saw on the newspaper that there were about 90,000 footfalls at the book fair on Sunday the 18th of Feb, 2007., which was about 1/9th compared to the normal footfall at the Maidan. Hats off to Rani Rashmoni for gifting the people of Kolkata the Maidan which is both culturally rich and filled with heritage.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Boys can be classified into 3 types, when their Love towards a girl in taken into account.

They are: -

B1) Who has never Loved a girl in his life.
B2) Who had Loved a girl but somehow it got terminated.
B3) Who had Loved a girl and later married that girl.

While writing the above 3 types of boys, I haven't drawn lines to whether it was fortunate or unfortunate for a boy to have been classified among the above 3 categories.

It is just my way of thinking.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Pain-y Rain at Eden Gardens

I came to know that I will be a part of the washed away match just the night before India took Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens Stadium, Kolkata on 8th February, 2007. My daddy offered me two tickets and asked me to take my friend Gaurav to see the match. My sixth sense said the night before that the match will be washed away by rain the next day and so it did.

So before going to the match, I wrote a short message in my orkut about me area. I wrote, "Today all eyes are on Eden Gardens, Kolkata. I will be there with Gaurav. Hope you all see me on television supporting India and DADA. Whenever the camera focuses towards the crowd, search for me." I had even sms-ed my special friends to see me on television cheering for India and DADA.

Frankly speaking I went there to see DADA (Sourav Ganguly) score his first century at Eden Gardens. I personally have no faith for Greg Chappell and Rahul Dravid and have no interest in seeing a cricket match which has these two so called great people. But the Weather Gods had a different story to tell.

I was there by 1.30pm and sat on the gallery when the giant screen read "WELCOME TO EDEN GARDENS". All the players were practicing before the match. I saw almost all the Indian players and some of the Sri Lankan players whom I could identify.

The match started, and all were enjoying the match. Suddenly after the 18.3 overs when Sri Lanka was 102 for 3 wickets, it began to rain and it continued for 1 hour and a half. The field was turned into a big swimming pool. Some of the people left the stadium but most of the people stayed back till the last decision of the authorities was declared. Few minutes before the rain our Honourable Chief Minister, Shri Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee arrived and he was warmly welcomed on the giant screen.

It took the field workers 3 to 4 hours to dry the field, using only one super sopper machine and a dozed sponges, but unfortunately the match was called off disappointing the 1 lakh cricket lovers present there.

It was a shame that the authorities kept us waiting till 8.30pm by writing a message on the giant screen saying "Match suspended due to rain" and "Next inspection at 8.30pm". The enthusiastic spectators (aroung 70,000 people) remained there till 8.30pm when the last message came that "Match called off".

Seeing this the crown got furious and started booing Prasun Mukherjee (the new CAB President and Police Commissioner, Kolkata) and his team for inadequate match infrastructure and for keeping them waiting till 8.30pm from 4.00pm. The match started at 2.30pm. Some said that the wait was deliberately done so that people do not charge their money back from the CAB.

There were boos for Rahul Dravid too, for not letting India bat after winning the toss. Else, the people could have watched DADA score at least a half century.

Even the prices of food was comparable to the best restaurants and the quality and quantity was comparable to the food in a famine struck state. Packets of chips were 40 rupees, egg roll was around 26 rupees, which made the middle class people raise their eye-brows. Tea was served 15 rupees per cup.

I saw a man getting angry with the authorities for serving water pouch packs that were made in Orissa. He wanted to say that, "Was the condition of the people of Bengal so poor that they have to import water from Orissa?"People had to spend 15 rupees for a single pouch of water.

Our gallery had shade over us, but the rain was so intense and the shade was too weak to hold the rain that poured making all the people present there get wet in no time.

I personally felt that if China could build big indoor stadiums for their 2010 Olympics, then why can't India do the same for our cricket loving people at Eden and elsewhere in India? At present BCCI and CAB should gift the people of Kolkata by upgrading Eden Gardens to an Indoor Stadium.

My 10th sense tells me that it will take over 2 decades to understand the need and implement them, by the authorities. By then it would be too late for people of my age to watch a cricket match as live at Eden Gardens, may be.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

DOGLABAAJ - a new word in the dictionary

It was on the eve of Saraswati Puja, Gaurav and I were roaming around in Sashi Bhushan Dey Street paying homages to the live protimas. Gaurav is my childhood friend from school days. Some of you might know him. He is a very good guy with lots of sense of humour. He can make you laugh all the time with even the most serious issues.

Coming back to Saraswati Puja Eve, as we were roaming there, suddenly an aunty named Patra-kakima from our locality, who loves animals, treats them and takes care of the street dogs, suddenly emerged from somewhere and saw Gaurav caressing one of such street dogs. She likes people who loves dogs and also other animals.

When she saw Gaurav caressing the dog, she at once ran towards Gaurav and asked him, "Tumi ki Dog-Lover?" means "Are you a Dog-Lover?". I was a bit far away from them and mis-heard or rather over heard the word DOGLOVER as DOGLABAAJ. This is how, a new word evolved from no where. The word is DOGLABAAJ.

Later Gaurav and I had a good laugh at it. Nowadays, when I see Gaurav caressing dogs, I call him DOGLABAAJ. He merrily accepts my nomenclature to him and smiles away.

So from now on, I am going to call all DOG-LOVERS as DOGLABAAJ.

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