24 June 2017

Winding down the week with a classic from Mirza Ghalib

“Dard se mere hai tujhko beqaraari haae haae
Kya hua zalim teri ghaflat-ashiari haae haae
Tere dil mein gar na tha ashob-e-gham ka hausla
Tu ne phir kyun ki thi meri gham-gusari haae haae”

Roughly translated… and any help from experts in Urdu in refining this would be much appreciated…

“You seem to be oblivious to all my pains, Oh, my!
What an oppression of your total carelessness you inflict, Oh, my!!
If you did not have the strength to deal with the vagaries of pain
Why did you, once upon a time, offer sympathies for my pain, then?”

12 June 2017

Jun 11th – the most popular birthday amongst my friends!

For whatever reason, June 11th is the most popular birthday in my birthday calendar. Today, as many as 15 of my old friends get birthday calls from me! That is almost twice of my daily average. Not terribly sure how to explain the popularity of this date… but here is some interesting analysis of the mix of those birthday boys and girls. The gender distribution surprised me and I am fairly sure that it is not representative of the whole birthday list for the year…

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10 June 2017

Sudipta Chattaraj will be very proud of me!!

A couple of months back, when I had posted my fountain pen collection, my friend from elementary school days – Sudipta Chattaraj – had reminded me of the WingSung Hero pens that we used to use in our childhood.

I still remember how I got my first WingSung pen. I was in Narendrapur in 11th grade. I had gone to one of my seniors Sanku Mallik (who was the topper in our previous batch) to get one particularly tough trigonometry problem solved and noticed his very nice pen (later found out to be a WingSung pen). I also noticed that he, rather undramatically, solved the problem like he had been having trigonometry problems for breakfast from right about the time he was three and a half years old or thereabouts.

Thoroughly convinced that having a Wing Sung pen and doing trigonometry easily could not just be a matter of correlation – that there must have been a cause and effect relationship – I made it my life’s mission to get myself one such pen. That Sunday, armed with a gate pass, I slipped out of the residential campus and a short bus ride later started hunting for a WingSung pen in the shops of Garia. And finally got one!! A red-brown colored one!!

Not terribly sure it ever improved my trigonometry but I do remember going back later and getting a blue colored one too. Calculus was also particularly tough that semester!!

I used to cherish those two pens. Many a letter had been written with those two pens. Many a test paper saw me getting stuck with those two pens between my fingers!!

Sudipta had suddenly reminded me of those two pens. Like I search the world over for my old friends, a similar search started for those Wing Sung pens. Unfortunately for me, Wing Sung pens do not have Facebook accounts. Nevertheless, I was able to finally contact a guy in remote China who said he could get me one. I insisted that it had to be the model 233 (that was the only model that had that orange color window to check on the ink level).

What do you know? For the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee, I am a proud owner of a brand new WingSung Model 233 pen!!! Exactly the same color as the very first one I possessed – back in 1983!!

Previous owners of a WingSung pen probably remember the unique nib shape that is integrated into the body, that small orange window to check ink level, the small hole in the back to even out the pressure to keep the ink flowing and above all – the unique press clip cartridge system to fill in ink. Absolutely the cleanest way of refilling ink from an ink pot I have ever found.

I can also tell you that the pen is writing even better than most pens I have at hundred times that price!! But that might have to do with the priceless nostalgia too!!

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3 June 2017

Friday evening decompression…

“Tu wo zaalim hai jo
Dil mein reh kar bhi
Mera na ban Saka

Aur Dil wo kafir jo
Mukh mein reh kar bhi
Tera hogaya…”

Roughly translated…

“You are such an oppressor that
In spite of living in my heart
You never become mine.

And my heart – it is so disloyal that
In spite of living within me
It shamelessly became yours!”

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28 May 2017

Like gold in a furnace…

That was what was the official description of the monogram of the school I went to from fifth thru tenth grade back in India. In line with the learnings from that school, today, Nikita and I sat down in our yard and listened to an episode of “Says You”. If you have not ever heard it, give it a try – it is a rather humorous radio show on English words. I accidentally fumbled onto it while fiddling with radio channels one Sunday night about seven years back. Now, I just download the episodes and listen to them.

We lit a small lamp in the yard, sat around it and learnt some new words. Have you noticed how the guy at the restaurant, when he gives you a glass of water, puts a straw in it and but leaves a small piece of paper wrapper in one end? Well, that has a name – “strawphylactic” !! Remember, how I note that my parents, when I visit them, complain about how the world was much better in the past (which I disagree with). Well, we found out today, that the word for that is “pluperfection”.

While they were on a “interstitial” (you and I will call it a “break”), Nikita and I tried experimenting with taking pictures of the flame of the lamp. This one came not too bad…

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13 May 2017

Friday evening decompression…

“Main shaayar to nahin / Magar ae haseen
Jab se dekha, maine tujhko / Mujhko shaayari aa gayee

Main aashiq to nahin / Magar ae haseen
Jab se dekha maine tujhko / Mujhko aashiqui aa gayee

Pyaar ka naam maine / Suna tha magar
Pyaar kya haii / Yeh mujhko na thi khabar

Main to uljha raha / Uljhanon ki tarha
Doston mein raha / Dushmanon ki tarha

Main dushman to nahin / Magar ae haseen
Jab se dekha maine tujhko / Mujhko dosti aa gayi

Sochta hoon agar / Main dua maangta
Haath apne uthaakar / ain kya maangta

Jab se tujhse mohabbat / Main karne laga
Tab se jaise ibaadat / Main karne laga

Main kaafir to nahin / Magar ae haseen
Jab se dekha maine tujhko / Mujhko bandagi aa gayi”

Roughly translated…

“I was never a poet; But your heavenly beauty
Ever since I saw you, poetry has been flowing in me

I was never a romantic; But your heavenly beauty
Ever since I saw you, love has come to me naturally

I had indeed heard about love;
But I had no clue what it was all about

I was entangled with all these confusion
And hid like an enemy even among my friends

But I am not anybody’s enemy; But your heavenly beauty
Ever since I saw you, friendship has come naturally to me

Sometimes I muse that if I were ever to pray
Raising my own hands, what would I ask for?

Ever since I fell in love with you,
I have started worshipping Almighty too!

I was never a non-believer; But your heavenly beauty
Ever since I saw you, faith and belief has naturally come to me”

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