Three Quotes Challenge

So recently I was nominated for this challenge by two exceptionally good bloggers.

The first nomination came from Inky, who has a multitude of talents including writing in both English and Urdu, and photography.  Her observational skills always leave me in awe. Do check her blog.

The second nomination was from Beparvah, who has such variety in writing that he can write on social problems as effortlessly as he writes on emotional issues. Don’t forget to click on the link provided above.

As for the rules of the challenge, I am going to bend them quite a lot. For starters, I am not going to post consecutively for three days. This will be the single post with nine quotes. And no nominations from my end either. If you want, you may do it on your blog, or you can post your favourite quote(s) down at the comments section.

So without further ado, let’s crack on.

1.Aai aai Maharani Victoria! Eku Porha xuna nai. Khali lipstick, plastic, elastic!” — My high school mathematics teacher

This is one of the defining quotes of my life. It deals with the ills of vanity and materialistic lifestyles. To break it down for you, aai aai means aai aai, because those are just sounds you make when you are angry at someone. I suppose it’s not as cool as Oi or Oye or Hey or Youstupidmoron, but it does what it intends to do — which is to alert someone that a barrage of abuses are coming.

Maharani of course means Maharani (or Queen), and Victoria is that Queen Victoria of the Victorian Age who is so famous over here due to her historically significant actions.

Porha xuna nai is in Assamese which literally translates to “reading listening not” if we consider it word by word. I guess that doesn’t make sense. So a better translation is “no studying.”

Khali doesn’t allude to the wrestler Great Khali. Khali in Assamese means only. I suppose the other words are as clear as day. Although I don’t know why he used to add the words plastic and elastic.

All in all, the quote means: “Hey you, Queen Victoria! Will you stop with your vanity issues and at least focus on your studies for a while?”

Er…or something along those lines. Whatever.

To the boys he would say, “Aai aai Jambuvantha. Kya kar raha?” This also has a lot of depth, but I am too tired to delve into the Ramayana right now and explain the context behind its usage. And if you noticed the lack of hai after raha, it’s because it was intentional. His vocabulary lacked the Hindi word hai.

“Kya kar raha?”
“Kya khaata?”
“Class mein sota?”
I think you get the point.

2. You cannot always expect change. Sometimes you have to bring the change yourself.” — Local channawaala

Well you know, he does have a point. I have to accept his rationale, otherwise he will say, “Chhutten kya paed pe lagte hain?”

3. “Meowth, that’s right.” — Meowth (Team Rocket waala or if you still don’t get it, it’s a Pokemon reference. Go ahead, drown in chullu bhar paani)

He is right. I used to think he would say Meow, but it turned out he just repeated his name. I don’t know why I am explaining this quote.

4. “If you ssssmmeeelll what the Rock is cookin.” — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Well I never understood what the Rock meant with those words. I mean I used to smell whatever was around me at that time, ranging from food and books to my uncle’s smelly socks. But it represents childhood (and if I might admit, adulthood too).

Okay enough of silliness. Let’s check some proper quotes. I won’t attempt to explain them because I want you all to interpret them according to your thoughts and beliefs.

5.There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.” — Thomas Jefferson

6. The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” — Plato

7. Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognises genius.” — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

8. Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.” — Harper Lee

9. An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self sustained.” — Mahatma Gandhi
So-called poetry


Heartless, they called me
Soulless being my fame
Humour was my friend
When grief became shame

Masks adorned my face
Seemed like a machine
No life and no death
Buried in between

Prayed for an escape
From the hurt and guilt
Wished someone came, and
Had my heart rebuilt

Then you came along
Like that star up north
Guiding my lost faith
Pulling it henceforth

And just like that star
Drives darkness away
You gave me the light
To search the right way

Through the thickets of
The forest of fate
Through the mazes of
Prejudice and hate

And emerge at the
Precipice at which
Pain ends and bliss starts
And life appears rich

For when these eyes close
One image haunts most
Anklet, rose, and a
Smile brighter than those

Because you are my
Soulmate; my one love;
‘Tis you that I see
When stars fade above

So-called observations

Clueless Guys Dining

The guys are at a high-end restaurant. They have ordered some of the exotic dishes, and are waiting for the service.

ARUN: This thing always confuses me. Which one goes in the right hand? The fork or the knife?

MANJIT: The knife. Fork goes in the left hand.

ARUN: Then why does the spoon go in the right during dessert and stuff?

MANJIT: Because it’s dining etiquette.

IMRAN: I think it’s bullshit.

ARUN: Yeah, me too. I mean, I can understand the Western folks don’t do anything unclean with their left hands; so it doesn’t matter which hand they use. But we do. The unclean stuff I mean. Therefore, it makes sense that we reverse the etiquette and use the fork with the right hand.

MANJIT: Yes, but then, you won’t be able to apply enough force with your left hand for cutting the food.

IMRAN: Wait a minute. The western folks don’t use any hands for the unclean stuff?

ARUN: Well, yeah. They use toilet papers, don’t they?

IMRAN: I know that. But they still have to use their hands for the toilet paper, right? They don’t just go up to a toilet paper roll, turn around, and start rubbing their you-know-whats against it.

ARUN: I see your point. In that case, I suppose, their hands are equally dirty. So, again it doesn’t matter which one they use.

MANJIT: I think it’s hygienic. Hands are too dirty most of the times.

IMRAN: Oh please! Don’t give me that hygiene bullshit. We are Indians. We pride ourselves at being unhygienic. We are born unhygienic, and we stay that way. Hell, just a few minutes back I saw you were counting notes and licking your fingers to moisten them just after having picked your nose.

ARUN: Hahaha, in your face!

MANJIT: All right, all right. Maybe, we are not hygienic, but you cannot deny that there is a certain level of sophistication and class on display when you use cutlery.

IMRAN: Look around dude. Desis are the most classless people in this world. For instance, do you see that dude over there with the strange bun over his head?

(They look around to where Imran is pointing, and spot an Indian male with long hair tied in a bun, wearing a pair of shorts and a T-shirt that said “Chicago!”)

What is his problem? Why is he wearing shorts to a high-end restaurant? It’s not hot here. This is not Kailash ka Dhaba. There is air conditioning here. It’s like, “Dude, stop being an American wannabe. You are miles from being cool. Get some pants for god’s sake.”

MANJIT: It’s called fashion.

IMRAN: All right, we’ve already agreed upon this. You don’t talk about fashion.

ARUN: I know what you mean though, Imran. I have similar thoughts when I attend my office parties. They will serve the meals in the classic buffet style, which is okay, but there won’t be any seats around. I mean after a long day, I just want to sit down comfortably and eat my meal. This whole suave dining system feels like another official exercise. Sophistication is nothing but pretence.

IMRAN: That’s not the worst part though. The worst part is that they serve you fish curry and tandoori chicken and expect you to not use your hands. I mean, how the hell do you eat something with bones with a spoon or a fork?

ARUN: That bugs me even when I have a place to sit down. For instance, they will serve you rice with chicken, and then you start eating with a spoon because you know eating rice with a fork is like holding chullu bhar paani. Of course, then you realise that you need a knife to cut the chicken, which is fine. But lo, you then realise that a spoon is ineffective for holding the chicken pieces while cutting. Therefore, you also need the fork. Now the problem is I have got only two hands. Where do I find the third one?

MANJIT: The one thing that bothers me about dining knives is that they are so blunt. I have to keep slicing and slicing to cut something as soft as a liver piece.

IMRAN: Oh, we know Manjit. When you use cutlery, you make such a racket that people are forced to stare at your ugly face in spite of themselves.

ARUN: Shush guys! Here comes our order.

(The waiter serves the food they had ordered and leaves.)

MANJIT: Oh, this looks delicious. I can’t even pronounce these names. They are Italian, right?

IMRAN: Or something with fake Italian names to make them sound cooler.

(Arun tastes an appetizer)

ARUN: I can see where you are coming from. Yuck! Oh my god, this is just raw cabbage dipped in some tomato sauce.

MANJIT: That’s cabbage? I thought it was some kind of pasta or something!

(Imran starts choking on something)

IMRAN: I’m done with this crap. What the hell is this? This is just a dollop of cream on raw onions. I’m going to order some biryani.

MANJIT: Shut up, Imran! Order some risotto. This is called fine dining.

IMRAN: Fine dining, my ass. Fancy names cannot obscure the fact that I am being served raw veggies. I don’t even eat the cooked veggies. It’s like they have recorded my worst nightmare, and then made me watch the whole thing in a multiplex after paying for deluxe seats and awful popcorn.

ARUN: You know I have similar thoughts when I go to a coffee shop. First they serve you this god awful cappuccino which is so bitter that it can kill all the worms in your gut. Adding extra sugar doesn’t help either, because then the flavour of the coffee gets lost. So basically, I’m paying some 60-70 bucks for a draught of the dead, pretending to enjoy it because it’s supposed to be cool, while in reality I’m only gulping it down because it’s so damn expensive.

MANJIT: Want to go to Shankar’s dhaba and order some tandoori?

BOTH IN UNISON: Hell, yeah!


लालू रिटर्न्स और मैं

If you have even a feeble interest in Indian politics, you will die laughing while reading this brilliant piece.


मेरे जैसे अपने को बुद्धिजीवी कहने वाले अक्सर राजनैतिक चुप्पी साध लेते हैं. ये कह कर कि इस देश का कुछ नहीं हो सकता. लोगों ने देश से भागने के चक्कर में जी जान मेहनत की, जुगाड़ लगाए, और नेताओं नें ये रोड, वो इंडस्ट्री खड़े कर दिये कमीशनखोरी के चक्कर में. मज़ाक मज़ाक में देश टैलेंट की खान बन गया, और विकास के हिलोड़ें लेने लगा. इसी धक्केबाजी में मैं भी बिहार के एक गाँव से उठ कर अमरीका रिटर्न डॉक्टर बन बैठा. पर इसका सारा क्रेडिट महानुभाव लालूजी को. भला मोमबत्ती में पढ़ने में जो शक्ति थी वो ट्यूबलाइट में कहाँ? इधर उधर ध्यान हीं नहीं जाता. कागज पे एक गोल प्रकाशित क्षेत्र दिखता, उसके अतिरिक्त सब अंधेरा. जूही चावला की एक तस्वीर दिवाल पे लगा रखी थी. अंधेरे में बिल्कुल भूतनी नजर आती. ऐसे डरावने माहौल में तो आदमी दो ही चीज़ें पढ़ पाए- एक सामने रखी…

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So-called observations

Clueless Guys Shopping

Three guys are talking and looking at stuff at a mall. One of them is trying to buy a gift for his mother. The other two are helping him decide what to pick.

ARUN: Will you two stop staring at that girl and do something useful?

MANJIT: Will you look at that douche bag? How the hell do girls fall for these idiots?

 Dude, if you are gay, just tell us? We won’t judge. I mean, there is a perfectly hot girl over there and all you can see is her lapdog?

 Screw you!

 C’mon you guys! Help me! They all look the same to me. Why do women need to carry these stupid bags anyway? I mean, it cannot be only for makeup items. The other day I saw a girl about this tall (pointed to his waist), and she was carrying a bag bigger than a 6-year old kid. If all she was carrying was makeup, then I honestly pray that her boyfriend doesn’t see her in the morning.

 That makes me wonder actually. There is a very good possibility that I might end up with an arranged marriage. What if my parents fall for the advertisement and when I open the package, there is a completely different product?

 Oh, don’t worry. In your case, it would be the opposite. Your parents will paint such a Pandit Gangadhar image of you before the wedding that when she finally learns the truth about your kaminapanti, she will elope with the milkman.
(Ducks Manjit’s punch and turns to Arun)
Right, so what were you thinking bringing us along to buy ladies bags? We have as much experience with these things as Mr. Douche Bag over there has with books.

 I just didn’t want to be embarrassed alone. Anyway, what do you think of this one? (Shows a green leather purse) 

 Nah, too small.

 He is right. Considering our experience in ladies accessories, it would be better if we stick to what we know.

 What, geometry?

 Well, yeah. Your mom is not going to like any bag you choose. Therefore, the best you can do is get her something that can at least hold some money.

 Dude, she is my mom. She will like anything I buy.

 That is exactly the point. Only because you, her son, are buying the bag.

 All right, let’s ditch the bag idea. How about saris?

 I think I saw the sari section over there, but we have to walk past the lingerie section. You two go along. I don’t want to look any creepier than I’m feeling right now.

(They go to the sari section, dragging Imran physically)

All right, so what do you know about saris?

Uh, they are long?

Would you cut it out with the dimensions, already? Sheesh! What do you think, Imran?

 I think…if that chick over there at the counter had more hair on her upper lip, she could have participated in that moustache competition, My Hair Lady.

Oh My God! You two are such useless pieces of shit!

MANJIT: Woah, woah! Chill dude! Cut out the profanity. Aunties will start judging us.

IMRAN: (Under his breath) As if they aren’t already. Three jobless youths loitering around the lingerie section.

ARUN: All right, let’s go and check some sari designs then. Let me know if you find anything interesting.

(After checking out a few saris, they pull out one of them)

ARUN: Okay, so why is there no tag on this one? How do I know whether it’s silk or not?

MANJIT: You are supposed to know that from the touch. You see there are various kinds of silks that are used for making saris, like the Benarasi sari.

ARUN: What else?

MANJIT: How would I know?

IMRAN: Do you even know anything of substance?

MANJIT: I know more than you.

IMRAN: Yeah? Like what?

MANJIT: Like the fact that the tent-like thing over there is called a maxi or nightie. Or that, those tight suffocating pants that the mannequin is wearing are called leggings.

IMRAN: Okay, Versace, we know what a maxi is and what leggings are.

ARUN: Hey, that makes me think about one thing. Why do some aunties greet their guests wearing maxis? I mean they will put a dupatta over their heads, but forget that they are wearing nightclothes.

IMRAN: Oh, man, I know. I hate that too. It’s like, “Oh, hey kids, would you like some cookies? And by the way, don’t I look great in my balloon gown?”

ARUN: Exactly! And they will say it while baring their wrestler arms as if to say, “So why aren’t you eating my cookies?”

IMRAN: I know! By the way, have you noticed that when they are flexing their muscles, they shout something back to their husbands with a voice of death, and again turn back to you in a sing-songy voice and go, “Ooh, teehee!” I mean what in the world is that. Is that supposed to pacify my fears or something?

MANJIT: Whoa, whoa, my mom does that! How dare you mock her?

IMRAN: Oops, sorry dude. No offence to your mom. She is different you know. I was just talking about other aunties. (Exchanges sheepish looks with Arun)

(Sensing trouble, Arun takes the initiative)

ARUN: Okay this is not working. I don’t have any clue whatsoever about saris. For instance, this one time my mother complained to my dad that some particular design on her sari was making her look old. I checked the design and there were these straight lines kind of things printed on the fabric. I spent the next few hours looking up the relationship between straight lines and old age. I never found the exact connection; although I did discover that ladies pump shoes actually do not have tiny gear pumps installed in them; and that women blurt like ten times more words than men in one day, which is the alleged source of their power of nagging. Anyway, forget about saris. Let’s go for something a bit more vanilla, you know.

MANJIT: Thank god! If you had listened to me the first time, we would be feasting on tandoori chicken by now.

IMRAN: Oh please! Getting his mother an Adidas cap? Really? How do you not fall over while walking?

ARUN: Guys, guys, cut it out, okay. Look over there, hot girl at 2 o’clock. Wanna go over and say hi?

BOTH IN UNISON: Yeah…right!

ARUN: Your choice. In that case, let’s go and look for something less unique. I’m thinking an expensive pen will do.

IMRAN: Of course, it will do. Soon we will be accompanying you on grocery shopping trips looking for adha kilo piyaz and do kilo atta while referring to a slip handwritten with Sheaffer ink.

MANJIT: You can give her a scarf.

IMRAN: Tum chup raho yaar. Tumse nahi ho payega. What the hell will she do with a scarf in July?

MANJIT: Okay, Einstein, why don’t you suggest something, rather than pathetically attempting to sharpen your sarcasm on us?

ARUN: Yeah. What do you suggest, Imran?

IMRAN: It’s quite simple really. Just give her a hug.

MANJIT: Can we go and eat now?


So-called poetry


They said I had died 
At four past midnight
They said I had tried
To survive; to fight

‘Twas the head you see
That truly killed me
Caution and safety 
Those could not save me

Sometimes I wonder
If ’twas a blunder

Dreams torn asunder
When I went under

But with all this strife
That cuts hearts like knife
And pain that is rife
How good is a life?

So I lie in peace
In white of one piece
Troubles come to cease
Death is sweet release



Assam for Dummies

I have travelled to most of the big cities of India except Hyderabad. The one thing that is common in these places of the “mainland” India is that people have very little idea about Assam or the North-East in general.

I remember when I was in Mumbai a few years back, this Marathi auto driver asked me where I was from. When I said Guwahati, he asked, “Is that close to Delhi?”
I replied, “Na, bhai, it’s in Bihar.”

Similarly, when I was in Bangalore another time, this engineer asked me, “Is it true that a bomb goes off almost every other day in Assam?”
I wanted to say, “Oh yes, and I am the ghost of Bob Marley who died when he mistook a few sticks of dynamite for pot-enthused sausages.”
Alas, I just muttered, “Haha, no.”

Then there was the time when I was in Delhi when an acquaintance of one of my friends remarked, “You know, you speak really good Hindi for an Assamese. And you look nothing like a chinki.”
I said nothing. I just made a face like I was getting ready to fart.

Finally, when I was in Chennai three years back, a taxi driver asked me, “Sir, is Assam in Guwahati? And do you need passport to go there?”
Again, I said nothing, and coughed and pretended to sneeze before making my trusted fart face.

As for Kolkata, the bongs are okay. They know we exist. It is possible that the reason may be mainly because many of their relatives live over here. We are also practically neighbours, connected by the goose neck. So not knowing about us would be embarrassing, I suppose.

Now, you would wonder why I am writing all this. Trust me, this is not a rant against all those imbeciles I have had the misfortune to meet during my travels. Such idiots exist everywhere. Assamese folks aren’t all that different. For instance, if you speak Hindi in front of an Assamese bloke, he will instantly assume you are from Bihar. Even if you tell him that you belong from UP or Rajasthan, he will not be convinced. Instead, he will produce ten reasons to prove that you belong from Bihar. Moreover, if you are a Bengali Muslim, a typical Assamese would automatically assume you are an illegal Bangladeshi immigrant, even if your family has been living here for more than a century.

Therefore, stupidity is a common disease throughout the country. And this post is not about stupidity.

In this post, I want to share some pictures of Assam that will give you a glimpse into this wonderful place I call home. They might also hopefully entice you to visit us someday. Oh and these photographs are fairly representative of the actual thing. That’s because I’m neither a photographer, nor do I have any Photoshop skills. So I lack the ability to find something beautiful where none exist. Moreover, I don’t own any expensive camera equipment. These photos were clicked on my phone and on a fairly cheap point-and-shoot camera I used to own. Since I have mentioned this point, I would like to apologise in advance for the poor quality of some of these images. Some of the pictures are quite old.
The college where I studied. Such cloudy sights are common during the monsoon season, as it rains a lot over here.
The college where I studied. Such cloudy sights are common during the monsoon season, as it rains a lot over here.
A typical sunset on the banks of the river Brahmaputra in Guwahati. (This place is called Kharguli, and is one of the best places to hang out)
A typical sunset on the banks of the river Brahmaputra in Guwahati. (This place is called Kharguli, and is one of the best places to hang out)
You can get on one of these ferries and visit one of the many river islands. If I am not wrong Majuli is the largest river island in the world. (Please Google Majuli)
You can get on one of these ferries and visit one of the many river islands. If I am not wrong Majuli is the largest river island in the world. (Please Google Majuli)
Does seeing the Great one-horned Indian rhino excite you? Then visit the Kaziranga National Park.
Does seeing the Great one-horned Indian rhino excite you? Then visit the Kaziranga National Park.
What to do when a wild elephant confronts you? "Stay silent and don't make sudden moves," according to our guide. (another Kaziranga pic)
What to do when a wild elephant confronts you?
“Stay silent and don’t make sudden moves,” according to our guide. (another Kaziranga pic)
This swamp deer says Hi.
This swamp deer says Hi.
You can stay at one of these houses in Kaziranga. They have no electricity, and during a moonless night, you can find your way from the light of the stars. Trust me this is an amazing experience.
You can stay at one of these houses in Kaziranga. They have no electricity, and during a moonless night, you can find your way from the light of the stars. Trust me this is an amazing experience.
Assam used to be known for its oil long back. The British founded the oil town Digboi more than a hundred years ago (the name came from the phrase, "Dig boy, dig.")
Assam used to be known for its oil long back. The British founded the oil town Digboi more than a hundred years back (the name came from the phrase, “Dig, boy, dig.”)
A British era Bungalow in Digboi.
A British era Bungalow in Digboi.
This is the view I wake up to every morning.
This is the view I wake up to every morning.