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It was a Sunday morning when Arnold and I met  for the first time. We were in our own living rooms. His, was in the high rise on Manhattan while mine was in Salt Lake City, Calcutta. The most striking ingredient of that memory is his big smile which used to render a display of the most innocent and chocolate invaded set of pearls.

Arnold, was my best friend for several years to come. Our friendship grew stronger with each passing Sunday. If not for his accent (which I had to initially struggle to keep up with) , we had hit it off, almost immediately !! He would do most of the talking and I would be the one breaking out into loud hilarity. I loved everything about him . He was my childhood role model. I even begun dressing like him. There was the cowboy hat ( from the Book Fair) and bell bottom pants (green corduroy) that I had to be in, all the time.  I would  even cross my arms (like him) across my chest during all conversations. It did not matter who I was listening or talking to, I would always strike the “Arnold pose” with all my weight  on the right leg. Strangely Miss Biswas found that extremely annoying (during “drawing class”) and promptly sent me out to bake in the summer heat !! But that is a different story !!

I am one of the several thousands, whose earliest memories cherish loving hues from Diff’rent Strokes. It was my introduction to anything American. I was too young to see beyond the innocent wit  that the show contained. Today, as I look back at those times and the show, I realize that it was so much more !!  All the years that Diff’rent Strokes was on air, it carried a banner of love, of acceptance and happiness. And Arnold,was the star of that show !! Everyone loved him !

Arnold (Gary Coleman). passed away on Friday, May 28th 2010  This is a farewell note from that little boy  sitting on the cold mosaic floor with his eyes glued to the black and white of the television screen, as Arnold slides down the wooden railings. Adieu !!

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Most days (save the cloudy ones) , as I step out, the Sun meets me, right in the face. That is my – first favorite part of the morning.I get situated in our small blue car, turn on the ignition, wear my seat belt, back up my car, turn on the radio and hit the road. Turning on the radio is – my second favorite part of the morning. It was no different today, till I  heard the clear voices of two students from Presidency College. And suddenly, I was not driving on a US highway anymore.  Instead, I saw myself waltz across the black bricks of the tram lines towards the millions of used books on the sidewalk kiosks. My ears tuned in to the faint tinker from the rickshaw carts and my nose drew in the early morning air, a wistful blend of fresh lilies from flower stores and the black smoke that buses from Sealdah coughed up. I was in North Calcutta, in a neighbourhood, which fondly resides in my memories. My very own ….City of Joy !!  

Back to this morning. NPR is doing a story –  “Along the Grand Trunk Road“. It is a journey, one that will take several reporters through various parts of India and Pakistan. During this journey, they will  illustrate the lives of the common man, as they make their way from one end of this historic road to the other. What has got me hooked, are the real protagonists of this story. This story is not about the high rollers and the big wigs. It is about the others – the ones whose dreams, pains and smiles, build  to make India, one of the greatest nations of the world.

Recently, a friend of a friend of mine, visited India for the first time. It is essential to mention that he (friend of my friend)  is from Germany. He had always wanted to make this trip and hence carried with him a great amount of  interest and a fair quota of apprehension. On the third day of his visit, my friend received a call – “S, …what can I say. India is amazing… I love it here !!“……much excitement and details followed,….. and then finally, before he hung up ……he said – “and the best part of India is, ……there is so much going on around you ….the population, the pollution, the roads, the movies, the cricket…. it is total chaos,…. but somehow, amidst all this …there is a sense of  harmony to this pandemonium…. called life !!  there is a warmth and it is not from the heat. it is from the smile, that every one wears on them….almost all the time“.  

As I  sipped on the first coffee of the day and the off- shore (India) team spoke into my ears, I smiled to myself  …”this is one of my favorite mornings …in a long time” !!

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Thanks to the densely retarded media world – Tiger Woods’ press conference about his alleged affairs with 25,781,230,732.00 girls got a lot of publicity !! Apparently there were reporters from as far east (matter of perspective) as Japan, to cover this “very important” news event, though if you were not as half drunk as I am, you would think, that they would cover the Winter Games or the aftermath of Haiti relief efforts instead. Now how about that ? Do you think Mr.Baby Face can touch celebrity excellence ? Would the world stop salivating and try to remember that every celebrity’s private life is his/her own business ? Would Tiger come out of the Woods again?

You guessed it right !! I was up all night yesterday. Making corrections to the speech that the Tiger had to deliver this morning in Florida. He did not get time to thank me personally !! He was busy doing Betty  pretty important stuff himself. I must warn you ….what follows is a glimmer of im mature  insanity and if you are wearing pace maker(s) or suffer deep rashes on your skin from rat poison …….you should probably consider revisiting this blog at a later time ….. !! If you still want to face it …. do not complain ……I did warn you …!!

beginning of transcript………

Good morning, and thank you for joining me so early after a wild night..Many of you in this room are my girl friends. Many of you in this room know me intimately. Many of you have cheered topless for me or you’ve worked with me or you’ve supported me through my infidelity.

Now every one of you has good reason to demand some cash reward to be critical of me and my body odor . I want to say to each of you, simply and directly, Screw You !! I am not in the least deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish self pleasure behavior I engaged in with all of you hot babes.

I know people want to find out where the sex tapes are how I could be so selfish and so foolish not to sell them on Ebay. People want to know how was it to party with porn stars  I could have done these things to my wife, forget her name Elin, and to my children. And while I have always tried to be a private strip dancer person, there are some parties things I want to  dance with Paris Hilton and her muah muah say.

Elin and I have started the process of discussing about getting a new maid and the damage caused by the golf clubs my behavior. As Elin pointed out to me we already have “18 ” ass holes, my real apology to her will not come in the form of words but a diamond bracelet and onion rings; it will come from my reality show Cheating in the Bunker behavior over time. We have a lot to discuss about pre extramarital affair agreements; however, what we say to each other will be available for sale during Christmas on Amazon  remain between the two of us.

I am also aware of the pain in the privates my tiger “balms” behavior has caused to all the honey bunch Cheerios those of you I have “played with” in this room. I have let you use my iPad down, and I have let down my pants fans. For many of you, especially my hooker friends, my performance behavior has been a personal disappointment. To those of you who have been paid out work for me, what the f@#$ are you still doing here?? I have let you down personally and professionally. My bad breath behavior has caused considerable worry to my mistresses business partners…………..

much blah blah ensued ……and then finally …….

That also means cheating some more relying on others for help with fake excuses. I’ve learned to seek athletic support from my underwear company peers in therapy, and I hope this evening someday to return to the club scene that support to others who are seeking for some quick bogies help. I do plan to return home in the morning to golf one day, I just don’t know through which window when that day will be.

I don’t rule out getting high on weed that it will be this year. When I do start drinking and gambling return, I need some extra cash to make it to Hooters my behavior more respectful of the game. In recent weeks, I have received many thousands of free condoms in the mail e-mails, letters and phone calls from the Mothers Against Drunk Pregnancy people expressing their deepest desires good wishes. To everyone who slept with me has reached out to me and my family, let’s do it again and again and again thank you. Your fetishes encouragement means that now I can have my own naughty movie the world to Elin and me.

I want to thank The Hilton, Marriott, Red Roof Inn, Motel 6, Sulabh Complex PGA Tour, Commissioner Finchem and the belly dancers players for their patience and understanding while I keep scratching work on my private parts life. I look forward to seeing you all in Room 420 my fellow players on the course.

Finally, there are many people in this room who I have not yet slept with, and there are many people at home who believed they would sleep with me in me. Today, I want to ask for your phone numbers, emails and Facebook ids  help. I ask you to find a nice hotel with a spa room in your heart to one day believe in UFOs me again.

Damn, I need to work on my strokes!! Thank you.

 end of transcript…….

As you must have guessed by now, the man is really ashamed of his actions !! I would say he is bleeding and wants to make an reentry. Wait ….that came out all wrong !! What I am really trying to say is …. let us pretend (for a second or so)  that we believe in every word he said or thought he said !! That does not make sense either. …..what the putt !!

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As a kid I used to look forward to falling sick. Why? Simple. It would mean, I could stay at home (not go to school is a derivative…you see) and mis-utilize (read:parent’s definition) the day by reading books outside of the syllabus. The mood usually did not go sour ….unless it was a case of acute Joi Bangla (colloquial term for conjunctivitis in Bengali)…because then the command would be ….”Chok bandho kore ghumiye thako” (shut your eyes and sleep) ….like there really is another way to sleep than not shutting them. ……And then…. I got hit by the chicken pox…I was like ….Aa Gale Lag Jaa !! …..my heart leapt into the air (metaphorically ….. a real leap would not sit well) of the green (painted…no connection with the environment) walls of the doctor’s clinic ….I told myself …..”Phaata Phaati” (This is pretty awesome…..would vaguely relay the ecstasy that I experienced on the finding).

This provoked some radical changes …..relocation (zero privacy section of the house),new work center (portable aluminium frame bed from Army store), designated dress code (all cotton comfort clothing), cubicle (four walls of the blue mosquito net), nutrition control (monitored diet of “get well soon” broth) …….you get the picture. The biggest attraction to this three week imprisonment, that I was looking forward to was….. my “one on one” adventure rides with the works of Ms.Blyton. !!

I was ten years old……(life was simple….no pressure)!!

She is 19. With the warmest smile and rock solid confidence, …..she is commitment personified !! Results matter to her …..(not the publicity) ….and she is going to tempt her health into a fight of will power. If you make it ….despite the darned boils …. we will play the “dhol” for you … if you do not … there is always a next time. No matter what …..Saina Nehwal…..you make us proud !!

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Back in the day, several years before South City happened, the two neighbourhoods(off Prince Anwar Shah Road) ….which boasted of affluent residents, were Golf Green and Lake Gardens. My uncle’s wife’s father’s younger brother’s nephew ….(whew) owned a modest three storey house…..in one of the afore mentioned locales.Business was good and life had been fair to him.In addition , he had been kind enough to inherit, callous amounts of wealth through ancestry !! In other words, he was one of the descendants of the “Bengali Babus” who could give away houses as gifts to the “masseuse” (wink, wink ….no offence to Mr.Ahuja). During one of my visits to their mansion of abundance,I happened to stray away from the chipper of the family reunion(read:excuse to contribute generously to pre-existing obesity) into a different section of the house. My eyes took a couple of minutes to get adjusted to the dim lighting. …. and when they did …. I let out a little gasp !

Sprawling over a quarter of the room and bedecked with the tiniest possible to the royal magnificence, were fittings and light fixtures (inside the glass walls)…..hosting a classy refuge…… to thousands of fishes ……. collections from all over the world !! I stood there amazed and speechless …. and very ambitious …..”Some day I am going to own one ….just like this !!”.

Clearly, in my moment of excitement…. I had missed one tiny detail ……. the magnanimity of such a hobby …….translated into any local currency. Blame it on the warm blood and dripping illusion of a teenage life !! But very soon….. that dream took the first practical ventilator in sight. …….what follows next is the beginning of the twist …in the tale !!

A couple of decades later ……

It was not an easy decision ….a family meeting between the three of us (Her Highness, the 10 month old and myself) went on till late,the night before.We had to look at the best and the worst case scenarios, draw some charts and punch in some numbers. The cost of electricity, water usage, fixtures, snakes (snacks for the inhabitants) …. and above all deciding on the exact spot..all of these called for “attention to detail” and foresight……!!

Early the next day, we accepted Mohan’s offer (that we could not refuse) to take one of the bettas (from his collection of millions). There was a wicked grin on our faces …..we knew that we were a smart team, had played a really hard bargain…..and in the end …. it had not cost us a dime. We had also managed to squeeze in a clear plastic container with the blue lid …and…. (ummm)…fake leaves….. as part of the deal. “Do not over feed it” he said before we drove away. The ……clear plastic container with the blue lid …has been placed near the window….we looked at “him”..and a tear drop welled up in the eyes of ….. Sarah Palin (read: not important) !!

Boo Ju Lu (please print first,middle and last name as it appears in passport) is the newest member of our family……and with him we released the first print ……O.K….may be not the whole print…just a close up shot … of a very “fishy” dream…!!

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The last time we checked, our 6:14 had been cancelled and we had been re-booked on the 7:50,which was now delayed by couple of hours.Terminal B at EWR is probably one of the most unexciting terminals of all times.I had two options …finish the last quarter of my book or…… finish the last quarter of my book.What I did not know about, was a third available item on the menu – to relax in the NWA® lounge (courtesy:platinum member coworker).I made it a combo (the junk food effect) picking all three of the above.I even got myself some snacks while we lazed around dreading a potential cancellation (didnot happen).As we walked through the gate, I was told that I have an upgrade.I am now in 2D. I told myself – “now that I can live with, more leg room….nice”……and that was not all…..

As people started to come in, (clearly tired of the delay and the wait) – a lot of them smiled as they got close to my seat.After some doubt that they were glad to see me (but why??) or about my upgrade (really??) I realized that they were actually greeting the person next to me. I held back my ever daring curiosity and consented to politeness by not turning to look (stare rather) at who he was.That attempt lasted for about half a minute, before I had to pretend that I was getting comfortable. To give it a real touch, I slid my obese (lack of)frame on the leather and in effect got a glimpse, and almost immediately told myself – “I know who he is …he is one of the guest speakers at the Bill Maher show !!

There was this girl (she addressed him as Professor) who shook his hands and he whispered back at her – “take care now”.Then the band (from Jamaica) did the fist bump with him (each one of them). While I had been “doing nothing” in the lounge, an impromptu performance near the gate for the “professor” and other passengers had been a real hit.They were on their way to a music festival in Chicago.He wished them luck as they got lost in the crowd towards the end of the aircraft.There were few others who wished him on their way to their seats.Meanwhile I sent a text message to my friend -“sitting next to guest from the BM show, cannot figure out who he is”.Got a response – “Cool”.Yeah,that helped. ..I have to confess, for a minute there, I wished I owned one of the fancy gadgets (read:iPhone®, Voyager® etc.) where you can Google® and not have to wait till you “connect” otherwise…..and then I drifted off into my “in transit” slumber.

I finally looked him up and a cauldron of shame, embarrassment and “do not know what else to add” feelings got stirred!! I had spent close to three hours sitting next to Professor Cornel Ronald West and I had no clue who he was.All I could relate him to, was a television talk show.I felt shallow (the word I was looking for) at my lack of knowledge.Currently a Professor at Princeton University he is extremely respected for his political and moral insight.For someone, who had to actually find out who he is, I do not want to replicate that information from another website on my post. I had not spoken one word to him and that will be one of those regrets which I will not get over easily…..!!

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One more time….well for the time being!! It has not been easy for her …especially to try and “sound” brave and maybe “smart” after the historic win …even though the “real her” got exposed through the “cracks in the cranium moments”during the infamous interview. While the million years old guy was slamming his head on the refrigerator door, (as the news about her wardrobe makeover leaked) and her clear lack of experience “glowed bright” under the vice presidential debate lights, the rest of the “out of adjectives to describe” world was still cheering her on.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you …….Sarah Palin !!

All I have to do is say “attention” and she will take it from there ….her latest fling is going to be all good for CBS® especially after it is none other than Letterman who has “ruffled” her Alaskan feathers …. I remember how it used to be hot and pretty late in the night in Chennai and how I used to wait up to watch his show (reruns of the U.S version of course )… I still try not to miss any episodes (especially when I am on the road) . Incidentally I watched this one as it aired (the same night) and laughed with the in studio audience at his top ten ….I am a fan of the show and the man …. and I am not stupid … and here is why I have problems with her making all this noise …..so here is a list of questions I have for her …….

Governor, ………

  • Please explain to us (if you get time from hogging the media attention) …how is it O.K. that your “teenage daughter” is threatened by a late night show joke (that is why it is late night…it is not supposed to be watched by the Young and Restless) and but you seem to be not so bothered by her “act of love” which redefines her lack of responsibility like so many other teenagers….
  • Please also break it down for me as to why is it O.K to use tax payer money to waltz around with your whole family during the presidential campaign ….
  • Would you be kind enough to explain as to why pre-election gag was acceptable (you needed them votes so the humor factor was acceptable, right??) though clearly you have started to work on your 2012 come back preparations (read : “controversial and soul stirring disapproval” in a matter of hours of the actual show, which you clearly mistook as a couple of days …

Here is a toast to you for your “knowledge of Russia and foreign policy“…your hunting from the choppers …your Joe six pack jokes … you have proven to the rest of the world how easily, the average American and his intelligence can be taken for granted ….and evidently exploited pretty well ….. !!

This post is not a political outcry…it is a “mirror and reflection experiment” of a certain section of the populous and almost all of the media which is easily distracted by cheap stunts ….for the record… Letterman did apologise…. in his own “62 year old host of one of the leading late night shows with an intellectual following way” and the dust should have settled a long time back… but we do not like that do we ….in a world where a recession is “taxing us” and health insurance costs are “killing us” we need the filler news to keep us busy …… or don’t we ??

This is is another one of his Top Tens …. pre election ..when she did not “mind” the jokes…..!!

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