Have you ever wondered how your shoes can betray you? Well I have experienced their betrayal. Do choose your footwear wisely after reading this, as I am sure you will become more protective towards your feet. I’ll share a few incidents with you regarding the uncanny behavior of shoes. Always make sure your footwear hugs your feet tightly, or else it may slip away anytime, anywhere and embarrass you.

I was at school, and I used to come back home on foot from my English classes every afternoon. On my way home I had to pass by a three point crossing, which had both a bus and an auto rickshaw terminal stop. One day as I was walking down the road, an auto rickshaw passed by my side and was about to stop at the terminal, when I noticed the man sitting in the front beside the driver stuck his left leg out in order to run out as soon as the automobile would halt. But unfortunately his shoe jumped out off his foot and landed on the ground before even the auto could stop, some 20 meters away. The man’s face was worth watching!! I couldn’t resist myself from laughing; I burst out giggling in the middle of the street, I didn’t care who saw me or what people thought, I just laughed my heart out, and narrated the story animatedly to all possible friends later on. A friend even asked how he walked back to his sandal; I did not have an answer to that question. Trust me I did not have the energy to look back and laugh even harder, I just covered my face and walked off fast to hide my embarrassment.

Then some day, after three years perhaps it was my turn. Again, all the hilarious incidents seem to take place in the metro. I had two large bags with me, and I had to wrestle up into the compartment with all the others. In the pandemonium I sensed someone kick at my right foot resulting in the flip-flop fly out of my hold. I tried to turn around and find my sandal, but the heavy flow of human bodies resisted me from reaching my favorite sandal, and the doors closed on my face. All the people inside the compartment stared at me blankly; a lady sitting in the corner seat had sympathy on me, and offered to help me by wanting to hold both my bags. She was so kind. A man in front of me suggested me to stand at the corner lest someone would stamp on my foot. I waited all the way with one sandal on. As the crowd got thinner, I could feel people staring at my feet questioningly, but I ignored it. All I had in my mind was that I would rush out barefoot and enter the closest footwear store and get a pair of shoes quickly. Luckily just beside the metro station there was a ‘Bata’ store. I picked up the lone sandal in my hand and came out of the metro compartment, and ran up the stairs; running barefoot was easy, no slipping, actually the grip was quite good. And as soon as I came into the road I walked up to the store and demanded for the “cheapest wearable shoes”. The salesman’s eyes rested at my feet for a while, I explained that I lost my shoe in the metro crowd. While paying the bill of ‘rupees one hundred eighty’ for another mere flip-flop (since I couldn’t afford a better shoe at that moment), the cashier said he had seen many people who had lost their shoes similarly while getting up or down in and from the metro. My embarrassment lessened, he was so sweet to have applied some soothing words to my ruptured mood. Whatever happens, happens for a reason, i felt, i got to learn a lesson. Never wear the flip-flops if you have to travel with the crowd.

After this incident I bought a very tough and tight fitting pair of shoes for rough use. So friends, it is a wise suggestion to choose your pick of footwear patiently, do not go on the show, because at the end of the day it is the durability that keeps you up, not the beauty.


Life in a Metro …. 3

It was probably Tuesday, when I got up on the 9:25 am metro and found an empty seat. As I approached it, suddenly the woman beside hugged her bag and said “Sick, sick”. I looked in closely to check whether I mistook a child sitting there for a bag, but no, I was right. There was a big blue backpack over there which she was hugging. Then she clarified, “My friend is sick, she’s on her way into the metro and she needs to sit.” I understood, and remained standing, while some other women around demanded her for this uncanny reservation. Then the friend walked in and glided past me smoothly to the seat reserved by her friend. She didn’t really look sick, and the duo went on gossiping all the way. How can a person so sick keep on talking for 30 minutes?

Day before yesterday there were some technical problems due to which the 9:30 metro left the station at 9:38, causing the crowd to double on the platform and resulting in everybody’s late arrival at their destination. As soon as the next metro doors opened people rushed in like children from a school will during their departure. Somehow I got pushed in and got a place to rest my feet. It was so crowded that I found it difficult to breath, and faced the window all the way to get some air. Had it been an A.C metro I would have surely passed out. Beside me stood a girl of somewhat my age, she didn’t seem like a daily passenger. She clutched onto the rod overhead with both her hands and kept on swinging with every motion of the train. When the metro halted she put all her weight on me with a push from her massive physique. I couldn’t blame her for the situation as there was hardly any place for us to stand in a stable position. When the metro reached Central and Chandni Chawk the crowd evacuated partly and she smile pleasingly at me and stood at a distance resting her arms by her side.

Yesterday the metro gave me yet another cute reason to write. A pretty woman got up with a very sweet, fair and cuddly baby and stood beside me. The baby was quite plump and had round red cheeks ballooned up on the sides of her face. She wore a tiny white frock with red printed designs. Her mother couldn’t carry her in her arms for long due to the crowd, and surprisingly no one offered her a seat. I advised her to ask someone to hold the baby till she got a seat for herself, but the child was adamant she wouldn’t go to anyone else. Naturally after a while the baby began to feel uncomfortable and started to crib and move frantically. Her mother put her down in a very confined space, and there she was gazing up at me with wide open eyes. She needed to hold on to something to keep herself from falling. So with one hand she clutched her mother’s sari and with the other she scratched onto the side of my jeans. She was so tiny; her head was just a few centimeters above my knee. And her attempt to hold onto my jeans tickled me. I wanted to pick her up and kiss her. She was so sweet. Her mother asked a lady in front of her to let her sit with the child but she refused saying that she was not well. The lady beside got up and offered her a seat. She sat there with the cuddly snow white. But little miss cuddly wasn’t comfortable. She was sliding down her mother’s lap every now and then, and at periodicals letting out suppressed cries to announce her discomfort. Her mother guessed it and offered her water. She was so thirsty that she drank almost 250 milliliters of water at a go worrying her mother about her diaper conduct. As soon as the mother tried to put the water bottle away she let out a scream and forced her to provide her more water. Finally a woman standing close by offered her a distraction, a colourful purse. She stared at the purse as long as her mother packed her bag and got up to get down at the upcoming station. While leaving she waved a goodbye with a hearty smile to all her audience.

By LahariBasu Posted in Metro

Be a part of the Sprinting Glory

Bhag Milkha Bhag- is not just a film but is a detailed poem on The Flying Sikh’s life. After a long time I have felt this inspirational wave run within me again, after ‘Chak de India’. What a film!! And what beautiful shots had been captured- be it when the little Milkha runs to reach home on the hot sand, or when the rubber ball containing love messages drops on the bucket full of water, or when underwater, a pair feminine legs approached that of a masculine, one will enjoy the full 3 hours film gripping the sides of his chair in excitement. You’ll triumph in his victory and feel cathartic in his defeat. Farhan Akhtar has proven himself once again. I would love to call him a versatile actor since his transformation from “Zyndagi na milegi dobara’s”  ‘Imran’ to ‘Milkha Singh’ is really worth noting. Divya Dutta has done a great job as well, how often can you see a lady cry and laugh simultaneously with so much passion?  Even the Jabtej Singh, playing child Milkha has out done all the odds and made his mark in the world of acting. The film not only is an inspirational biography but also the result of the joint hard work of the director (Rakesh Omprakash Mehra), DOP and the awesome actors. This is a film portraying human spirit and willpower.bhaag-milkha-bhaag-2a_0

I remembered one incident in my life after coming out of the film hall, it has nothing to do with this film but it helped me memorize once more the saying “Where there is a will there is a way.” One day while coming back from my evening biology classes I realized that I had no money. And I did not have the courage or wish to ask from anyone. My home was about 4-5 kms from the class. And on the way lay a place which was equally feared by the adults and children due to the darkness and uninhabited eeriness of that region. I was 16, it was 6:30 pm and I was scared. I knew I had to walk fast to reach home or to at least reach a safe place nearby home. So I started walking, or rather racing. I raced down all the way with whichever vehicle fell by my side be it a bicycle or an auto-rickshaw or a bus, I raced with all of them as per my strength. Believe it or not I reached home within 15 minutes. I did not breath heavily nor did my legs pain. It was the fire of fear that burnt in me that drove me all the way. So I say, never think anything is impossible for you to do. All of us have a fire within us, it is the life force that drives us through the good times and it is this same force that pulls us out of perilous situations, but we only have to awaken the desire. Without a desire there cannot be a noble act. And this same noble act can give us a moment of a lifetime.

I know walking a 5 kilometer road in 15 minutes isn’t a big deal for many. But what I achieved that day was more than the speed. I overcame fear. I was definite then, if anything approached me or attacked me I would fight it with all the strength within me. I was alert and ready all through out those 15 minutes of my life, eyes swinging at every direction and glaring at any unwanted stare, warning them. Once I entered the door I smiled, it was over, and since then I have achieved a confidence within me, and have influenced a few of my friends. Never back off from any situation, face it and overcome it because “Dar k aage jeet hai” (victory lies ahead of fear ie. by overcoming fear you gain victory). Trust me it is very true, and I salute the person who coined this term. I would suggest “Bhag Milkha Bhag” as a must watch, especially for those who think life has been unjust to them. Watch this film, and you’ll understand that there are many who are in worse situation than yours. It is best to judge your life scrutinizing that of others, because it unfolds many untold miseries which some bury deep within them and welcome the days to come with arms spread out. When you come to know of others’ stories you’ll definitely thank the Almighty for the luxury you are living in. If I had any authority I would surely send it to the Oscars and Academy Awards 2013, if  ‘The Slumdog millionaire’ can win an Oscar then the Flying Sikh’s life WILL win one or two too.

Life in a metro …. 2

Some more incidents in THE Kolkata Metro caught my attention. As usual in the office time everyone rushes into the coach even if the crowd is thin, thumping on the sides of the doors with their immense bodies and getting stuck midway with one’s bag hanging outside or someone tripping over and getting trampled by the numerous seat hungers; and all these in just 30 seconds, the remaining 1 minute 30 seconds they jostle inside the coach for a stand. I guess people do it instinctively.

So one day in the morning we all pushed and rushed into the metro and grabbed our seats, and once again it was an A.C Metro. Two women jumped onto my both sides squeezing me, there was enough place for only one. Hell what timing! They tried to sit at the same time; they looked at each other simultaneously, and looked away together to the other side where one seat was empty. And both of them ran for it. Together! But unfortunately the drama ended there, one of them got to sit and the other stood there helplessly with a defeated smile on her face. Seeing this sad sight the lady next to me called for the woman standing and offered her to sit in the still only empty seat beside her. The defeated smile turned into a victorious one.

Another day, I got onto the Metro coach a bit late, I did not have to fight to enter, but got a nice place to stand by. I had a friend sitting just in front, so, I could let her hold my bag to release my burden and help me stand light. Little did I know the place I was standing was a danger zone. To my left was the door that would open every 2-5 minutes and let in more and more ‘jostlers’ and to my right was this lady commentator of the whole situation, who was the initial cause of my headache that afternoon. She and her friend were daily passengers, I have seen them many times, but I never knew she spoke so much. Had there been a cricket or football stadium nearby, they would have readily hired her for her god gifted ability of commentary. Every time the doors slid open lots of people fought desperately to enter even though the coach was full. Well, people cannot really help; all of us want to be on time, be it school, college or office. As many people got into the Metro, my neighbor went on and on reading out the situation like a child would babble out a well know poem enthusiastically. She spoke with such fluency and enthusiasm that, I bet she could have been either a commentator or a political leader.

“My my, just look at that man, he came running from that door to this door only to get up. Why can’t they wait for the next Metro?” exclaimed she to her friend.

“She should not try to…… Oh my God! How did she get up? Look she is fighting to enter….”

Not only did she go on commenting but also virtually trying to avoid the rush. I was the one who had to stand firm to face all that rush bravely and protect my fellow women passenger form being affected. But this lady, God knows what was trying to do, kept on elbowing me. Notwithstanding this irritating gesture I told her that there was no need to push me, I was already being pushed from the other side. Silence.

“Oh God! This station is really crowded…. Hey you there, please don’t try to enter we are getting squashed. Nooooo. What are they doing? How can so many people fit into one little coach?….” she went on.

Finally while getting down she asked me “Are you going to get down at Central?”

I said “No”

“Then why have you been standing here near the doorway and tolerating all the rush?” she inquired.

“Because people were already standing everywhere else.” I said calmly. But my inner voice was screaming “Why don’t you just SHUT UP? I have been standing here to not allow you fat people from disabling the others who enter and to allow you to talk non-stop for about God knows how long you have been talking. I can’t take it anymore. Now just get yourself out of here. NOW” While I was preparing this speech she got off thankfully. I knew if she had spoken one more time in front of my ears I would scream all these at her face.

After having encounters with some such talkative persons I have realized how much I hate people who talk nonsense, not just nonsense but also people who talk unnecessarily.

But you know what, it does make me angry then, but later on when I think back these are the thoughts that sometimes make me laugh or bring out topics for my write-ups. So, I think it’s not all bad.

By LahariBasu Posted in Metro

Life in a Metro….

Not the Metropolitan city, but THE Kolkata Metro! It seems as though all the memorable incidents occur in the A.C Metros only. During the rush hour, you may experience not just the rush but also some funny incidents and incomplete quarrels among co-passengers, and also you may get updates on people’s personal lives. One day, as usual, I was late and was waiting for the 9:30 am Metro, the platform was brimming over. As soon as the doors slid open, people rushed into the coach as Impalas would rush out from their enemy!! A bird’s eye view on this incident would be really hilarious. People push each other and swing their arms to prevent anyone else from taking over their desired place, and in all this humdrum, I have to get onto the coach and find myself a comfortable place to stand, if not to sit. But that day I was eventually pushed onto a seat, before I could arrange myself, within a fraction of a second the row was full, and one lady was frantically telling me to move so that she could sit. But before I could move the place was full. But this woman was so determined to sit that she sat on my lap and kept on shouting at me to move further to let her sit. I said that I could not move because the seats were already full but she was adamant, she kept on blaming me for not moving intentionally to keep her standing. At last my patience and etiquette gave up and I screamed back. To my surprise she completely shut up! Then the place was quite, till she started ranting again on a man, complaining that he was climbing up on her! Then again on his rebuff she was quite again. And all these happened in just 2 minutes. Here’s the conversation:-

Woman: “Soro soro, ami boshbo” (Move move, let me sit)

By the time I could move the row was full, so she somehow managed to fit half onto my lap and half into the little space left by the side.

Woman: “arre tumi sorcho ne keno?” (Why aren’t you moving?)

Me: “jayega nei to..” (There’s hardly any space)

Woman: “Tumi e to ichhe kore sorle na….” (You did not move intentionally)

Me: “sorlam na mane? Ami jotokhon a sortam sobai bose porechilo…. AAHH apni uthun amar lagche to..” (What do you mean intentionally? By the time I could move the row was full…. AAHH now get up, you are hurting me) since she was still sitting on my lap with all her weight.

She moved a bit and surprisingly adjusted her large hip in that minute space squeezing the rest of the seven passengers, and she blamed me again..

Woman: “Arre tumi sorle na bolei to ami….” (You did not move, that’s why….)

Me: “WHAT CAN I DO IF THE ROW IS FULL??” I screamed.

She shut up…. for about 30 seconds.

Woman: (to a man standing just in front of her, as his knee touched her leg once) “Arre Dada Apni to amar kole e uthe jachhen..” (Excuse me, mister you are almost getting on my lap!)

The petrified man moved away to escape from her unconventional wrath.

She kept on and on poking him, at last his patience gave away too and he snapped back,

Man: “Ami motei apnar kole uthe porini.. Bar bar ek e kotha bolben nato.” (I haven’t got on your lap, stop ranting on rubbish)

She was quiet again..

The whole journey all the other women were sitting compressed and were cursing her inaudibly I guess. Half way through the journey, she was to get down at Chadni Chawk. Since many people get down there they have to get ready before hand or else they may stay behind in the metro. So she got up at Mahatma Gandhi Road, 2 stations before her stop. And due to the highly congested condition she could not proceed successfully towards the door, so she chose her obvious weapon- Offence. A young man standing with his huge laptop bag struggled to provide as much room possible to her to move out, but she said “Aree apni sorun nahole to ami berote parbo na.” (Please move or else I cannot get down on my station) He moved as per the congestion permitted.

But SHE was she, “arre apnar bag ta soran na…” (Why don’t you move your bag..)

The man said, “Ami to soralam er theke beshi jayega nei…” (I moved as per the space, there is not more space here)

“Uff, amar paa atke geche, apni bag sorachhen na bole ami berote parchina…” defended the woman. (My leg got stuck here, just because of your bag I cannot get out of this place)

The perplexed man said, “Apnar paa akte geche to seta ki amar bag er dosh??” (How come my bag is responsible for your stuck leg?)

May be she gave an angry look or whatever, which ignited the man to spit out “Apni ki barite o apnar husband r cheler shonge ebhabe kotha bolen naki?” (Do you talk in the same manner at home with your husband and son?)

She became even more angry, “Amar chele apnar theke onek bhodro..” (My son is much more gentle than you are..)

“Ha ta to dekhte e pachi..” said the man sarcastically. (Yes that is evident..)

And so went on the dispute; to the spectators’ surprise she kept on screaming and shouting even when her station had arrived and the doors have opened. She finished her speech and then got out gracefully, or so according to a girl standing in front of me, who watched the complete outrageous comedy show! Well, as soon as she was out, everybody nearby seemed to sigh peacefully. And I was told not to let anyone else sit in that fine space which she had strangely acquired for so long. So the rest of the journey was comfortable and full of criticism of that podgy woman who always tied a top knot and wore her sari tightly wrapped around her waist and clutched at her large bag strongly, and finally appeared as the stereotype image of a quarrelsome woman!

I have seen her a few times later in that same timely metro when I got late, and almost every day she had to break out in a dispute with someone. Seems like a habit. And I have to admit she does have a lot of energy to keep going.

By LahariBasu Posted in Metro

Online Shopping vs Real Shopping

DSC_0552Many would agree saying that it is cheaper shopping online than at retail stores, it reduces automobile pollution as you don’t have to travel all the way to the store, and it is time saving. But wait a minute did you know how many times people have been cheated by these online stores?

Once I was window site shopping at one such online store when I came across a beautiful red ‘leather’ clutch. IT was a feast to the eyes, I soon started calculating my pocket money with its amount subtracted, and came to a conclusion that I can survive the rest of the, month by cutting out chocolate consumption and walking to and from college without taking an auto-rickshaw. So I ordered, and the next three days I imagined myself beaming with the pride of owing the ‘beauty’! I thought how every friend compliment my choice and how the other girls would turn their necks to catch a glimpse of my ‘leather’ purse…..

Little did I know that I’ll end up with a tiny 8.5 cm coin purse! Having seen the delivery man standing with a small package made me upset, and what came out of the package was even more upsetting. I called back immediately to return the product but they said no product can be returned unless it is defective. I hated them; I hated all the online stores for putting up glamorous pictures on sale. They had deceived me. I wanted to scream that the measurements were false, it said that the purse was 20mm in length; this couldn’t be possible so I took it to be 20 cm as that’s a good length for a purse. So here I am with shattered dreams debating for real stores which cannot deceive you easily. In a real shop you can actually see the thing, touch it, feel it , toss it, smell it and judge whether its worthy enough to belong to you. And above all where else will you find the pleasure of that pleasing scent of new fabrics, shoes, and jewels? A store seems to have its own smell which your computer or laptop cannot provide you with. Can you even bargain online? NO. But you can in a live store and please the shopkeeper to give you away the product at your choice of price. You can touch, smudge, toss and clutter as much as you want and then finally pick your choice form one corner and walk out with satisfaction.  How can you ever feel this while shopping online??

Firstly, you have to strain your eyes continuously and as we all know the rays coming out of the monitor screen is harmful for the eyes, so you end up hurting them. Secondly, the online stores always have the best photos put on, because once you get it you can find out how minutely it differs from the display picture. Furthermore, you never get that familiar happy feeling of walking back home with bags full of new clothes shoes and bags! As in shopping online you receive your order in a not-so-good-looking package and then they also take from ‘four to ten days’ to reach you! And surely by this time you could have used your new dress thrice had you got it from a feasible store.

Finally online shopping is like having your favorite dish without salt in it! It looks the same but tastes very different.

She who smells it right

This ‘she’ is a friend of mine. She is intelligent, bold, independent, and sometimes a bit of foul-mouth. She doesn’t like the word “sweet” to describe her, she says “I’m not a pink girl, I’m a blue girl.”She is not just good at smelling it right, but also she is a spent writer, a fabulous cook, a good photographer and a sensible friend. You may be thinking, “What is with smelling it right?” Well she can smell out any spice you add to a meal. She will successfully sniff it out and twist her tongue and declare her effort by asking you a weird question and surprising you. Then again she will experiment with cooking and come up with crazy but tasty dishes. Once I suggested her to become a taster, but she declined my proposal, saying it wasn’t good enough for her. Of course, why will anybody use their rare talent too much to lose it? It is said that if you use some of your sense organs too much you gradually lose that sense with age. And I’m sure our madam is planning to store this unusual gift as long as she can. To describe her physically, she has one of the most beautiful tresses I’ve ever seen in my life, her eyes speak her mind, and that dusky complexion which she hates so much actually gives a bronze tone to her skin making her look that she’s just come out of a bronze bath!

Sometimes she proudly declares her talents, lest anyone missed it and sometimes her talents just show, without even one word being spoken. Once I lent her a fat story book of mine and to my surprise she finished reading it in just 4 days! While it took me about 3 weeks to finish it. She actually reads very fast, once during one of our group studies before the exams she finished pages of ‘Psychoanalysis’, the most dreaded subject at that time in no time. When you ask her how she does that, she’d proudly declare with a wink “Everybody cannot be Sananya Datta.” I would agree, it is indeed in that unusual name which I’ve never come across before I met her. The name is unique, it means ‘one who is best in her field’, and sure she is. And some credit also must be given to that strange sir name of hers. People who hold this last name spell it as ‘Dutta’ but our heroine here writes ‘Datta’. She’s also the bravest girl I’ve ever come across, she says she hates eve teasing and once she fought a fierce full battle with one offender when she was about 15. I was so proud of her. Furthermore our heroine here is a foodie. She just loves to eat, and call her a shark or a greedy she won’t care. And what immense capacity she has to store all that food in her!! Once I remember she brought a box full of friend rice at lunch, we took a share from it though it still had much more left for her, after this we went out for a tea break, she took a cup o f tea and a laddoo, then coming back to college she stopped for a 200ml Sprite. Our class got over after an hour and there she was at the fast food centerImage sitting happily with an Egg-roll. I asked “how can you feel hungry so quickly. You just had so much…”. And came the most pleasing smile of hers accompanied by the obvious answer “I am Sananya Datta”. When she’s upset she won’t say it but sit with a long face and feel depressed, and at the most behave a bit rudely, this part matches well with me. The best way to bring her back on her foot is to treat her with a full plate of Biriyani or a medium sized Chicken Pizza, even the college canteen Pastry will do. No offence to our canteen, actually they serve very good and tasty food. And doing so you can experience that pleasing smile gradually build up in her pretty face. And so the rest of the day goes well. Once she lost her cell phone, that was the 3rd phone she lost in a row, not only so, she was actually robbed off it and pushed out of a running bus!! She managed to escape any injury but lost her phone. She was very upset, naturally, she was busy thinking what her mom would tell, on hearing this. I tried to console her by telling her to explain aunty that it was an accident, and that she had nothing to do about it. I do not exactly remember how her mood was for the rest of the day, as we had a lovely time laughing about some other things (she also joined the laughing session but soon retreated in the memory of the lost love!) but the next day I was shocked to hear that her mom didn’t react at all. I myself was feeling a bit scared thinking on what she might have to go through when she reached home with news of her 3rd lost phone, but his was really unexpected. Her mom was cool and relaxed, she promised to buy Sananya a new phone. And guess what, in a month she entered college with a brand new android phone cradled in her palm. Sometimes when we are prepared for the worst, God gifts us with unexpectedly welcoming situations! I love this lady, not for she is funny and good and trustworthy, but because I feel she’s worth some respect and love. And why not? After all she’s that unique lady in blue – Sananya Datta. Actually she’s the one who inspired me to write blogs. I thank her for all the craziness she provided, and all the fun that came into my life through her, I would really miss a lot in life, had I not a friend like you.