मच्छर, जैसे समाज है

जैसे आप अपनी ज़िंदगी जी रहे होते हैं, और भरसक कोशिश करते हैं, कि जो जीवन में करणीय है वह करते रहें, वैसे ही सोने की कोशिश कर रहा हूँ, क्योंकि अब रात का समय है, सोना चाहिये।

और जैसे आम ज़िंदगी में ‘समाज’ कभी कान के पास भिनभिनाता कर तंग करता है, कभी इधर, कभी उधर दंश मारकर उड़ जाता है, और मोटे तौर पर हमारा ख़ून चूसता है, ये बेचारे मच्छर भी वही करते हैं।

और जैसे ‘समाज’ कोई एक इंसान नहीं होता, एक बेनाम, faceless mass होता है, मच्छर की भी individual पहचान कहाँ होती है? उन्हें भी हम बस मच्छर ही कहते हैं, मसलन ‘मच्छर ने काटा’, जैसे ‘लोग कह रहे थे’।

आजतक हमें कोई ये समझा नहीं पाया कि भगवान ने मच्छर बनाये क्यों. हमारा faceless वाला समाज क्यों exist करता है, ये बात भी कभी पल्ले नहीं पड़ी.

और जैसे ज़िंदगी में आप समाज को नज़रअंदाज़ करने की भरसक चेष्टा करते हैं, लेकिन समाज पूरी बेशर्मी के साथ लगा हुआ होता है, खून चूसने, कान के आसपास भिनभिनाने, और आपको मोटे तौर पर तंग करने में, वैसे ही मैंने खूब चेष्टा की, कि नींद के साथ पूरी दोस्ती करूँ, मच्छरों को नज़रअंदाज़ करूँ, पर ये कमबख़्त डटे हुए हैं, जहाँ-तहाँ काटते हुए, इस बात का पूरा इंतज़ाम करते हुए, कि मैं और भले कुछ कर लूँ, पर सो न पाऊँ, और सुबह ऐसे कहूँ, कि ‘यार मच्छरों ने सोने नहीं दिया’, जैसे अक्सर कहा जाता है, ‘समाज के सामने मुँह दिखाने लायक तो रहना चाहिये (यानि अपनी न करो, सबकी करो)’।

और जैसे हम ज़िदगी में ज़रूरी चीज़ें बाजू में रखकर समाज का क्रिटीक लिखने बैठ जाते हैं, वैसे ही मैं भी मच्छर के दंश की पीड़ावश सोना भूलकर ये अनाप-शनाप लिखने बैठ गया हूँ।

Disclaimer: मच्छर-गण क्षमा करें, आपकी ‘लोगों’ से तुलना कर दी है। आधी नींद में ऐसा ही कुछ लिख पाता हूँ। इसकी ज़िम्मेदारी आप ही की है। और जैसे समाज को कोई फर्क नहीं पड़ता कि आप उनके बारे में क्या सोचते-बोलते हैं, वैसे ही मुझे भरोसा है मच्छर भी मेरा लिखा कुछ नहीं पढ़ेंगे।

(Image courtesy: www.noeticart.com)

Then, Now and Will Be

Kidakaka had tagged me over three months ago. And I took so long to finally finish writing it. Turns out it’s become pretty long.

Two questions in each category answer them and then tag your friends from the blog-o-sphere. Leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been tagged and you are all set.

Your oldest memories

  • I vaguely remember a flood in Calcutta, because I loved the feeling of water filled in our rooms at the old house. All my life this memory somehow also makes me feel I’m in East Asia.
  • I insist to my grandpa that I want to eat fish. He being a vegetarian (he used to wear a janeu/yagnopavit), still goes to the market to buy fish for me. When it was being cut, I happened to be around and saw the blood coming out of its fins. There was an instant realisation that fish are also like us – they also bleed, they also must be feeling pain. Ergo, I am a vegetarian ever since.
  • All of four years, the young rider in me wants to ride my uncle’s bike standing outside our house. I stand on the kick-lever, trying to start it, and the bike falls upon me. Safely enconsed in the gap underneath the bike, I patiently wait for anyone to come by and help me out. The noise startles everyone in the house and they rush out to look for me.
  • Back in the good ol’ times when 9AM on a Sunday meant Ramayan on Doordarshan, on one such Sunday my mother was busy cooking lunch so that she can get down to watching television from 9 onwards. And I was hungry. And I kept asking her for something to eat. She had to ask me to wait. With unending energy inside me, I started looking for things to do. One of these things I realised was pulling off the wooden pieces at the base of the cabinet underneath the stove. “Why do they need those?”, I thought, “let me remove them”. Fine idea, except that it is the same stove which was being used to cook lunch. I pull out one of the pieces, and then everything on the stove tumbles down on me, including boiling hot cooking oil. Severe burns ensue, and after quite some time under medical care and lots of care by mom & dad, my life came back to normal. I became much, much quieter though.
  • Back in the old days when I used to be 7 something, we used to celebrate Chhath pooja in the factory which now belongs to my uncle. Still remember the fun we had there. We used to play hide and seek between the huge machines and rolls of paper, and sleep on piles of cut paper.
  • Got my first computer, a 486 with 2MB RAM. I was a BASIC geek, but the assembler had left a folder of Prince of Persia on the hard disk. I was hooked! It was amazing for the times, and I could not separate myself from the computer since then. And the feeling when I saw my first “coloured circles” that I had coded in Qbasic – nothing now can match that excitement.
  • Thanks to a Hindi-movie laden upbringing, I was a Hindi fillum ka hero, and any pretty girl around my age would be my prospective heroine. Can’t count how many times I have simply “fallen in love” at first sight 🙂
  • After my grandpa passed away, we were all staying at our old house for around a year. I had tons of friends there, and we all loved playing cricket. One fine day one of the boys said he wanted to bat. I agreed, and went behind the wickets. We never had wicket-keepers in those games, but I had seen it on TV and wanted to try it out. The boy who was bowling, meek chap that he was, always rolled the ball on the ground instead of throwing it. The batsman, Ravi Shastri fan it seems, wanted to hit a six on every ball. So he takes a swing at the rolling ball. The bat he was holding had a crack between the handle and the blade – with his swing it came unstuck, the blade went flying towards the pavement and the handle’s sharp wedge found my skull. With immense pain I started crying. I had thought it would be a bump, but when I touched it, I was shocked to find that the skin had broken apart there – I could feel that the cut is around an inch deep! I was drenched in blood, and everybody was looking at me with horrifying expressions. It so happened that a neighbour was passing by, recognised me, wrapped my head with a big piece of cloth he was carrying and took me home. I still have the scar on my forehead to show.
  • Once my cousin and I went out of the house to play cricket. So we carried the cricket bat (yes the same one) and since there were no balls to play cricket in the house, I stuffed a deck of cards in my pocket (!? Don’t ask. I couldn’t answer it then, and I can’t answer it now) while going out. Once we were outside we “realised” that we couldn’t play because we did not have a ball with us. So I come up with an idea – that we should walk. So we walked. And we kept walking. And walking. And walking. And we crossed many roads. And we reached the factory. Rushed in the compound and sat in a chair in one corner. My uncles and cousins were playing cricket near the compound’s gate, and they obviously saw us go in (we walked in the middle of the game). So they come rushing in. By that time my mother had already called everyone to tell that the kids are missing. Hours of lectures, to me and to mother and grandpa (for not taking care). The whole experience was fun by the way 🙂
  • As a kid who used to be dropped and picked up from school by my parents or someone designated, there have been times when I have been waiting till evenings in the school compound. When all the kids have gone home, when the classrooms are being closed, it is lonely, gloomy. And I had heard the story of a Calcutta schoolgirl who had fallen asleep in class on the last day of the term and stayed locked in the classroom for an entire month – she even ate her shoes and clothes in her futile attempt at survival. And I used to think “Am I important enough for my folks?”. Anyways, one such time the school authorities could not wait with me for so long, so they sent the gatekeeper with me to search for my house. All I could remember was “then there is a gully on the right, and then there is a gully on the left…”, no landmarks, no street names, and I referred to roads, streets, highways – all as gullies, as long as they began with a turn. They figured that I knew the way well enough to reach, only that I didn’t know how to articulate it. I finally reach home, to a worried mother, who was wondering all this while if I was at school or I was picked up from the school and was in the office. Turned out that no one was designated that day to pick me up, and everyone had forgotten thinking that somebody else must be going.

What were you doing ten years ago?
February 1999
Preparing for ISC, nay for the JEE. Going mad playing games. Had found the internet over a year back, so was going mad trying out Shellsock, Caltiger and any means of getting cheaper internet. Was sorting through piles of accounting papers, working in TCS’s E-X. It sucked.

Your first thought in the morning
Aah 7? So my roomie is late for the gym! Great. Anyways, let me sleep for another 10 minutes, and then I’ll go out for a jog.

Oh, it’s 8.00!!!

If you built a time capsule what would it contain?
The necessary parts to make it work, right?

This year…
It’s just begun. Let’s see if I can manage enough leaves for the Himalayan Odyssey. And enough money to pay off a major part of my debts. Otherwise I just want to go home for a week or so.

What do you see yourself doing 14 years from now?
Don’t know. 14 years ago I wouldn’t have thought I would be anywhere near what I am today, so taking a guess is useless.

All I know is
I want my parents, both of them, to be healthy, comfortable, happy and proud of me
I want to be published by then
I want to have a loving and happy family


Which camera should I buy?

If you’re interested in photography and have been frequenting online community sites/pages related to photography, you probably know the patterns and trends that the discussions and newbie questions there follow.

The most common and frequent question I guess would be “which camera should I buy?”. There’s nothing wrong per se with the question. It is quite valid a question. But of course photography is a unique skill, which (much like graphic design or sound editing or even the poor keyboard player in the band), has this nagging and insurmountable issue that for many outsiders, the photographer’s skill is non-existent or not as important as the tools (read hardware/software) they use. In light of this, insiders tend to get irritated with this question assuming that by just buying “the best” camera the person asking the question intends to become a master. Moreover the way this question is often asked and discussed by the person asking the question reminds one quite often of the frame of mind of a car buyer – he’s probably looking at mileage, comfort, style etc. rather than seeing the purchase as a means of expression.

Enough of serious talk. In fact it is much more serious than the nature of what follows. With the context set firmly in place, I’d like to present the most typical answers that this question gets. Enjoy 🙂

typical answer 1
I own XXX, and I’m happy with it, therefore XXX has to be the best choice ever. Go for XXX. I’ll accompany you to the market if you do. And I’ll hug you for it.

typical answer 2
Buy the cheapest available camera, and save for good lenses. Lenses make the photograph, not the camera body.

typical answer 3
Don’t bother with brands and models. Buy any one. It’s the 12 inches behind the camera that counts.

typical answer 3a
Don’t bother with brands and models. Buy any one. People can take amazing shots even with a P&S, even with a Cybershot/Powershot/Coolpix, even with a Motorola L6 camera!

typical answer 4 (generally a response to typical answer 2)
But the cheapest available camera has serious compatibility issues with most lenses. What’s the use of buying the camera and saving for the lenses if all you can use then are exorbitantly expensive lenses?

typical answer 5
<Link to an older thread asking the same question the 1000346th time>

typical answer 5a
Why don’t people go through older threads before asking???

typical answer 6
This community is a treasure trove of information, and is an indispensible tool for so many of… (copy-paste the same copy for the community from a previous thread)…. I appreciate your question, but did you know that (shock of shocks!!!) you can search for the information you want here, and all you wanted to know about what you want to know is just one click away? <Link to search query in that forum that says “best new camera”>

typical answer 7
Nikon rules.

typical answer 8
No. Canon rocks.

typical answer 9
Haha! All NGC/sports/fashion photographers use Nikon.

typical answer 9b
Haha! All NGC/sports/fashion photographers use Canon.

typical answer 9p
Have you checked out my one camera per brand shootout where Pentax’s base model (only model actually) kicks Nikon & Canon’s sorry a$$?

typical answer 9o
But I thought Olympus was good so I bought a E420!

typical answer 9o[ii]
I liked the photographs I clicked using my Olympus mju (especially the one of my dog chasing a shoeflower), so I bought a E410!

typical answer 10
Olympus/Pentax/Canon/Nikon fanboy!!

typical answer 11
Don’t listen to these idiots. Buy a H3D-II. 50 megapixels baby! (droools)

typical answer 12a
My daddy, the rich man that he is, gifted me a pro-level camera belonging to XYZ brand, so though XYZ brand rocks, the cheaper cameras of XYZ brand are crap and those using such cameras are morons. Don’t ask me why. I just know. Remember I’m using the expensive camera here?

typical answer 12b
I am a pro photographer (read, I get paid to click photographs) and I have the most expensive camera XYZ produces, so though XYZ brand rocks, the cheaper cameras of XYZ brand are crap and those using such cameras are morons. Don’t ask me why. I just know. Remember I’m using the expensive camera here?

typical answer 12c
I work for a Dubai seth where I get paid in millions of dollars every month and with all that overflowing cash I bought myself the most expensive XYZ camera in the market, so though XYZ brand rocks, the cheaper cameras of XYZ brand are crap and those using such cameras are morons. Don’t ask me why. I just know. Remember I’m using the expensive camera here?

This piece was written for one of those online photography forums, so a couple of these might not make sense to everyone at first, because they might be specific to certain people I have interacted with on that forum.

Recycled: Spooky?

Surrounded by the dilemmas of whether recycling my blog posts from my older blog here is inherently good or evil, I post this. Good, because it’s recycling. Because, let’s face it, recycling is good. Right? Bad because it wastes pixels. The content is already on the old blog, why post it here again? Well, while the dilemma continues, you can proceed to enjoy the following.

… you wake from a bone-chilling nightmare, to find yourself sleeping on the middle berth of a sleeper compartment on a train from Howrah. Still shivering under the nightmare’s effect, you try to wake someone up so that atleast the fear can be reduced if the dream can’t be shared, but no one wants to be bothered at this hour.

You sit for some minutes trying to figure out the storyline of the nightmare or trying to forget the gory details… when you hear nature’s call. Time to go to the loo. So you step down, and head towards the end of the coach, counting the number of compartments you cross in the way so that you return to your own berth… 1… 2… 3… 4… 5.

After answering the call, you return the same way… 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… and the berth you were sleeping in seems to be occupied… you move closer to wake him up, when you notice the person’s face… and you realise… it is YOUR body!!!


It’s Complicated

freshen upMe: So this Facebook thing of yours. You’re no longer single, it’s now complex, eh?

Mandrake: Not complex. Complicated.

Me: Aaah! Because in complex situations, there are imaginary people in the equation?

Mandrake: Yes, and there is no ‘I’ in W-E or R-E-A-L.

Me: And ‘I’ am alone and lonely in complex situations.

Mandrake: And when ‘I’ meet another ‘I’, things cease being imaginary, and it’s no more complex.

Me: We’re so smart!

Mandrake: We should publish this.

Me: Stop dreaming.

Inspired by a tea-time conversation with my friend Mandar.


Sitting in office. It’s 9.30 in the night. I haven’t phoned home to tell my roommates whether I’ll be having dinner with them or not.

I’m longing to be home. Not here in Pune. Home in Calcutta.

I know this will pass. 🙂