28 December 2016

28th December 2016 (Wednesday)


My Dear Blog,

Today is 28th December 2016. On 28th December 2001 I had french-kissed a girl for the first time in my life. It was a Friday. I was then 19 years old and she was just 18. She was my first girlfriend. I was truly, madly, deeply, savagely, hopelessly and helplessly in love with her. That day we first met in front of Menoka Cinema and then I brought her to my home. Inside my bedroom I kissed her on her lips. She was feeling so shy. We had lunch together. That day she also filled up my Slam Book. 

I still have that Slam Book with me. Even today whenever I miss her, I read her Slam Book page. I read it today morning also. Fifteen years have passed since that winter afternoon. Unfortunately we broke up in 2003. Over all these years I have kissed so many other women. So many women have come and gone in my life. But that 2001 first kiss will always have a special place in my heart. I will never be able to forget that day. 

Today she is happily married to someone else and has given birth to a cute little baby boy just a few months back. I wish her all the happiness in life. I am sure she is now the happiest woman in this Universe. God bless you my Dear.

Today morning I went to my office. Had a pleasant day in office. Had our usual fun and leg-pulling. In the evening I went to Au Bon Pain at Park Street to meet an old friend. Had a lovely adda with her. We talked about the bygone days. Things were so different back then. Park Street was so different back then. 

I talked about my first girlfriend. I am missing her today very badly. I thought about her the whole day. Couldn't get her out of my mind. It was killing me with each passing second. If someone gifts me a Time Machine then I would immediately go back to 2001. She talked about her first boyfriend. We both talked about our past relationships. I was feeling a bit sad and depressed since morning and she tried her best to cheer me up. So sweet of her!

Good Night,
With Love, Kisses, Moonbeams and Rainbows,
Raj Gaurav Debnath


25 December 2016

25th December 2016 (Sunday)


My Dear Blog,

Merry Christmas. Today morning I woke up and watched Rangoli on Doordarshan. Went through the Graphiti and Robbar magazines. After Rangoli I started listening to the songs of Jim Reeves, Pat Boone and George Strait on Youtube. Thought of going to Territy Bazaar to have chinese breakfast but then felt too lazy. Also thought of going to Flurys to have their expensive 'English Breakfast' but then again felt too lazy to go to Park Street.

Last year on Christmas I went to Park Street in the afternoon to meet a friend. We walked throughout the length and breadth of Park Street and then went inside the Park Street Cemetery. Clicked a lot of pictures there through our phones. From the Cemetery we went to Au Bon Pain and had a lovely adda there over hot coffee and pastries. Then she left. Another friend of mine came to meet me at Park Street around late evening. I again walked throughout the length and breadth of Park Street with her. Then I took her to Aqua Java in Wood Street. There I again had a lovely adda with her. The above picture is from that day at Aqua Java.

Anyways today I took a shower around noon. A friend came over to my place. Had lunch with her in my bedroom while watching Gene Kelly's "Singing In The Rain". I just love Gene Kelly. Had a lovely adda with her. 

In the evening she went back home. I went to South City Mall to meet another friend. Had coffee and chicken sandwiches with her at Coffee World inside South City. We were planning to watch "Dangal" but then decided against it. The adda was more important to us. Will certainly watch "Dangal" very soon. 

Came back home and had my dinner. Spent some time on Facebook. Started listening to the nineties' Bollywood hits on Youtube. I just love the Bollywood music of the nineties. I get so nostalgic when I listen to them. If I have a Time Machine then I would surely love to go back to the nineties. Kept on listening to all the nineties' hits especially the Shah Rukh Khan songs. Love these lines very much which perfectly describe my present predicament : 

Jispey Hum Mar Mitey 
Usko Paata Bhi Naahin 
Kya Gilaa Hum Kaarein 
Woh Bewafa Bhi Naahin 
Humney Jo Soon Liyaa 
Usney Kaaha Bhi Naahin 
Aae Dil Zaara Soch Kar 
Pyaar Kar 
O Ho Ho Pyaar Kar...  

Good Night,
With Love, Kisses, Moonbeams and Rainbows,
Raj Gaurav Debnath


24th December 2016 (Saturday)


My Dear Blog,

Today morning I woke up early and started listening to the songs of Md. Rafi on Youtube because today is his birthday. Took a shower, had my breakfast and then went to office. 

In office I had a lovely discussion about the great Rafi Saab with my colleagues. I was not in a mood to do any work since it is Saturday. We also discussed about our upcoming office picnic and about the upcoming India-England one day match at Eden Gardens. 

Around 1 p.m. I went to the Royal Calcutta Turf Club. I love spending a whole day at the races especially during winter. Had my lunch there and then drank a can of beer. I love betting on horses. There are elements of risk, thrill and excitement involved in the whole process. Nothing can be compared to the moment when the horses are running neck to neck in full speed and reaching the finishing line. Kept on losing money from the first race itself but luckily won a big amount on the 6th race which eventually evened out my losses. Anyways I firmly believe that spending my hard-earned money on horses is far better than wasting it on women!

From RCTC I came to Park Street to meet a friend. Walked with her throughout the length and breadth of Park Street. Had a lovely conversation with her. I really like her knowledge about english literature. Park Street was looking absolutely glamourous. It was so crowded but I loved it. Nobody wants an empty Park Street on Christmas Eve. Saw a lot of beautiful girls in the crowd and had those ethereal nano-second eye contacts with most of them. My friend noticed my wandering glad eye and elbowed me a few times. We also went to our St. Xavier's Church and prayed there for some time in front of Jesus Christ. 

Had dinner with her at my favourite Dreamland restaurant. Over dinner we talked about the present Tughlaq and the newbie Taimur. It is really strange how so many people are having a problem with this name and creating Facebook memes over it. Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor got married. They had sexual intercourse. His sperms and her eggs got involved in the process. One brave little sperm swam valiantly through her inner channels and successfully fertilized her one special egg. She gave birth to a baby boy. Now whether they name him Taimur or Tughlaq or Mahmud of Ghazni or Ahmed Shah Abdali or Hitler or Mussolini or Mao or Stalin or Pol Pot or Saddam or Gaddafi or Kim Jong or Osama or Bush or Dawood or Buddhadeb Bhattacharya or Laxman Seth or Majid Master or Tapan-Sukur or Haat Kata Dilip is absolutely their own prerogative. Who the hell are we to comment and criticize on this matter? I really feel very sorry for the poor little baby. Its such a cruel world! Anyways wishing a Merry Christmas to the cute little Taimur.

After an hour or so, we finished our dinner and I paid the bill in cash, not through any plastic card or PayTM. She insisted on paying half the bill but I didn't let her do so. Dropped her home and came back to my place and started listening to the songs of Md. Rafi on Youtube again. Listened to the song "Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil Mere Kaam Ki Nahi" multiple times. I especially love these lines which always remind me of my first girlfriend who is now married to someone else and has given birth to a cute little baby boy just a few months back :

Dil Tarsey Jismein Pyaar Ko 
Kya Samjhoon Uss Sansar Ko 
Ek Jeeti Baazi Haar Ke 
Main Dhoondhun Bichhrey Yaar Ko...

Good Night,
With Love, Kisses, Moonbeams and Rainbows,
Raj Gaurav Debnath


19 December 2016

18th December 2016 (Sunday)


My Dear Blog,

Today morning I woke up and watched Rangoli on Doordarshan. Then I started watching the India-England test match. 

I watched the match from the first ball till the last. I just love watching test match Cricket on a lazy winter Sunday. Felt really sad when K.L. Rahul got out at 199. 

In the evening the initial plan was to go to Allen Park to watch Usha Uthup's performance. But then felt too lazy to go there. 

A friend came to visit me at my place. Had a lovely time. Drank Old Monk rum with Thums Up. I just love Old Monk rum. 

Good Night,
With Love, Kisses, Moonbeams and Rainbows,
Raj Gaurav Debnath


18 December 2016

17th December 2016 (Saturday)


My Dear Blog,

Today morning I woke up, had my breakfast, took a shower and went to Office around 11 a.m. Didn't do any work. Just chatted with friends on Facebook and kept an eye on espncricinfo. 

Around 3 p.m. I went to meet a friend and have lunch with her at Peter Cat. I really wanted to eat Chelo Kebab very badly. But sadly we were told that we would have to wait for more than an hour to get a table for two. So from there we went to Mocambo. There we were told that we would have to wait for atleast forty five minutes. I was hungry and didn't want to wait any longer. Therefore I decided to go to the On Track restaurant. We sat inside the train compartment. The food was good. We had a great adda till 5 p.m. 

From there we went to Allen Park. The whole of Park Street has been decked up beautifully for Christmas. Saw the performances of The Messengers, Kolkata Youth Orchestra, Shayne Hyrapiet and Hype. Usha Uthup will perform tomorrow evening. Clicked some pics at Allen Park. My secret desire is to dress up as Santa Claus and roam throughout Park Street and give toffees and chocolates and toys to little children. One day I will surely do it. 

After the musical performances were over at 9 p.m. I came to Some Place Else. From there I came back home. Uploaded the On Track and Allen Park pics on Facebook. Started binge-watching Californication on AXN.

Good Night,
With Love, Kisses, Moonbeams and Rainbows,
Raj Gaurav Debnath


12 December 2016

11th December 2016 (Sunday)


My Dear Blog,

Today morning I woke up around 8 a.m. and watched Rangoli on Doordarshan. Went through The Telegraph and Sangbad Pratidin quickly. Took a shower and had my breakfast. 

Went to see the Marble Palace in north Calcutta with friends. Its a huge palace and it really has many old and rare paintings and sculptures. Unfortunately they don't allow to click pictures inside the palace. The last time I had gone to the Marble Palace was like a decade back. 

From there we came to hang out at the Sienna Cafe at Hindustan Park. Its a cosy boutique cafe and I really loved it. Had a lovely adda there over lunch. 

From there we went to the Horticulture at Alipore. Loved the greenery there. The flowers were pretty too. 

From there we went to the Prinsep Ghat. Had a long walk by the riverside. Saw the Ganga Aarti. Went to Scoop and had french fries.

From there we came to Park Street. Went inside Some Place Else for some time. Went inside the Biswa Bangla showroom. Bought some stuff from there. Went inside Oxford Bookstore too. 

From there we came to The Conclave. We all shared a bottle of red wine and then ordered dinner.

After dinner we went on a long drive to the Airport to drop off two friends. From the Airport we came to Lansdowne Road to have gundi-paans. I had five gundi-paans. I just love these paans. Came back home after midnight. 

Good Night,
With Love, Kisses, Moonbeams and Rainbows,
Raj Gaurav Debnath


11 December 2016

10th December 2016 (Saturday)


My Dear Blog,

Today morning I woke up around 9 a.m. Had my breakfast and took a shower and reached office around 11 a.m. Everyday the first thing that I do when I reach my office is to log into Facebook. Today also I did the same. Did a bit of work but mostly was occupied with Facebook. 

Yesterday afternoon I bumped into John Abraham in front of Taj Bengal. As I was going in, he was coming out. It was so nice to see him out of the blue. I have always liked him and his dimpled smile since the days when he used to act in music videos. This was in the pre-Jism era. I wanted to click a picture with him but he was surrounded by many girls who were all crazily clicking selfies with him and poor John was getting late for his flight back to Bombay. So I just clicked a picture of him from my mobile phone. 

Today in office I uploaded that pic on Facebook. Immediately a few girls inboxed me and told me that I was lucky to have seen John Abraham in person. Apparently they all have wild massive crushes on him. Good for them! Apart from Facebooking I also kept an eye on the live scorecard of the India-England test match through espncricinfo. 

On Saturdays we have a half-day office and it usually ends around 2 p.m. But you are also free to stay back till 6 p.m. and just surf the net or do your own stuff. From office I went to the Vivada cruise office which is in front of Millennium Park with a colleague. I am planning to go on a boat trip to Belur Math and back most probably next week. From the Vivada office we went to have lunch at a hole in the wall restaurant which makes tasty food. After lunch I came back to office and did some more Facebooking.

In the evening around 5:30 p.m. I went to Kala Mandir for the Kabir Suman concert. I have been religiously going to the concerts of Kabir Suman since 2003/2004. In all these years I think I have only missed four or five concerts which happened in and around Calcutta. Throughout all these years we have formed an unofficial Kabir Suman fan community. Today evening it was so nice to meet all my friends who are all die-hard fans of Kabir Suman. Clicked a few pics at Kala Mandir. Will upload them on Facebook on Monday. Today Kabir Suman was at his majestic best and sang beautifully and played the musical instruments magnificently. Usually he ends his concerts with 'Tomakey Chai' but today he ended the show with 'Aamader Jonnyo'. 

The programme ended around 9:15 p.m. After the show we all had a lovely adda. We all were mesmerized by Kabir Suman's brilliant performance. Came back home and had my dinner. Went through the news channels and logged into Facebook. I am really addicted to Facebook. Started binge-watching Californication on AXN. I just love David Duchovny as Hank Moody in this series. 

Good Night,
With Love, Kisses, Moonbeams and Rainbows, 
Raj Gaurav Debnath


5 December 2016

4th December 2016 (Sunday)


My Dear Blog,

Today morning I woke up around 8 a.m. Switched on my TV and started watching Rangoli on Doordarshan. Read the Blondie comic in Graphiti magazine. Started watching the Australia-New Zealand one day match. From 92 for 4, Australia batted really well to finish at 324 runs. Smith batted beautifully for his 164. 

Took a bath and ate my lunch around 1 p.m. Around 2 p.m. I went to Rabindra Sarobar for a photo-walk session. Met all my friends there who are all passionate about photography. Had a lovely adda with them. Clicked many pics too. Then went to Gallery Gold to see a photography exhibition. 

Around 6 p.m. I took a cab and went to Taj Bengal to attend an Engagement party. It was a great party. Enjoyed to the fullest. Drank six pegs of Jack Daniels. The music was good. Had my dinner there and came back home around midnight.

Good Night,
With Love, Kisses, Moonbeams and Rainbows,
Raj Gaurav Debnath

P.S. : Here is the link to my Blog Post on Sundays.


27 November 2016

27th November 2016 (Sunday)


My Dear Blog,

Today I woke up around 8 a.m. Switched on the TV in my bedroom and watched Rangoli on Doordarshan through half-sleepy eyes. Yes, I still watch Rangoli on Doordarshan on Sunday mornings. I have been following this ritual since my childhood days. During those days we only had Doordarshan in our lives. Later on DD-Metro channel came into our lives. Today I have hundreds of channels in my TV but I still have a special place for Doordarshan in my heart. 

Had a cup of tea on my bed. Then ate breakfast on bed too. Went through my favourite comic strip Blondie in Graphiti magazine which comes with The Telegraph newspaper. Also read Calvin and Hobbes there. Browsed through the Robbar magazine which comes with Sangbad Pratidin. I really love this bengali magazine, especially Joy Goswami's column.

Started watching the India-England test match. For me the greatest experience in the world is to watch a test match on a lazy winter Sunday from the first ball to the last. Also switched on my laptop and logged on to Facebook. Uploaded two pictures of mine from the Calcutta Film Festival. Chatted with a few friends. Browsed through some random beautiful female profiles. Sent them friend requests. I am really addicted to Facebook. I can't live without it for a single day. If I am not online on Facebook for two consecutive days then please call the cops!

Had my lunch on bed during the lunch break of the test match. I find Mayanti Langer to be very beautiful and sexy. Anyways throughout the afternoon I watched the match and chatted with friends through Facebook and Whatsapp. During commercial breaks in the test match I like to mute my TV. It gives my ears some much needed rest. I hate watching Hema Malini in the Kent ad and also hate that Ceat ad too. 

It was so nice to see Parthiv Patel back in the Indian team after so many years. I still remember his debut match in England where he was dismissed for a duck. He was such a cute kid back then. Today he batted well for his 42 runs. I was surprised that the English fast bowlers did not welcome him back in international Cricket with bouncers and short deliveries. Kohli batted responsibly. Pujara is in the form of his life. Ashwin has already become a very dependable batsman in test Cricket.

Once the match got over in the evening, then I took a shower. Went to our Lake Gardens CCD to meet a friend. Its just five minutes journey from my home. Had a lovely adda with her over hot coffee and chicken sandwiches. The initial plan was to go to Au Bon Pain at Park Street but I just felt too lazy to go there. Therefore the venue was changed to Lake Gardens CCD. 

Came back home around 8:30 p.m. Had my dinner on bed while watching the news channels. Watched The Jungle Book movie on Star Movies from 9 p.m. for the first time. What a fantastic film! In my childhood days I used to watch The Jungle Book cartoon show religiously on Sunday mornings on Doordarshan. Back then Sunday nights at 9 p.m. meant only one thing and that was Superhit Muqabla. I really miss those days very much. If I have a Time Machine then I would love to go back to those days once again...

Good Night,
With Love, Kisses, Moonbeams and Rainbows, 
Raj Gaurav Debnath 

P.S. : Here is the link to my Blog Post on Sundays.


16 November 2016

Calcutta Film Festival


Firstly I want to clarify that though the official name is Kolkata International Film Festival, still I prefer calling it the Calcutta Film Festival. When I am writing in English then I prefer calling my city Calcutta and not Kolkata.

The first time I went to the Calcutta Film Festival was in the year 2003. I went there with a friend. We just roamed around in the Nandan-Chattor and did not see any film. We just enjoyed the ambience there. It was all new to me. Saw common men and women standing in long queues to watch foreign films.

From 2004 I started applying for the Delegate Card. During the festival I started watching five films per day for seven days. The show timings were 9am, 11am, 3pm, 5pm and 7pm. I used to reach Nandan by 9am sharp. After the 11am show I used to have my lunch at the nearby Raju's Kitchen. Some days I ate masala dhosa, on other days I went for veg-thali or fish-thali, or sometimes I ate chicken chowmein or mixed fried rice.

Throughout the rest of the day I used to survive on tea, coffee and cigarettes. In those days I used to smoke a lot. Nowadays I have quit smoking for good. Hori Da-r Cha-er Dokan still serves the best tea in that area. The owner's full name is Horihar Banik. His tea shop is the most famous tea shop in that area and also serves as a landmark and meeting-point. I really love their dudh-cha (milk tea).

The 7pm show used to get over around 9pm-ish. I usually used to stay back at the Nandan-Chattor for another hour and that was the time to discuss the day's films with friends and even strangers over tea, coffee and cigarettes. Over the years I have met so many people at Nandan-Chattor who are not even remotely related to the film world but who have a tremendous knowledge about world cinema. Its a pleasure to chat with these kind of people and get enriched in the process. These people keep themselves updated with the latest happenings in world cinema. There was a time when I also used to keep myself updated regularly with the latest happenings in world cinema but nowadays unfortunately I am lagging behind in that aspect because of work pressure and other issues.   

I used to come back home on the last Metro from Rabindra Sadan. After dinner, I used to take a Saridon tablet every night. Watching five films every day used to give me a headache. After having Saridon, I used to go on the internet and read about the synopsis of the next day's films. At night I used to decide which films to watch on the next day.

I have also been collecting the Film Festival Brochures for all these years. Here are the booklets from the first two years. These two are extremely rare and only a few people in Calcutta have them. I am proud to possess these two brochures. From the third year the brochures started getting bigger and thicker.

Till 2012 I used to watch five films per day. From 2013 onwards I diminished that number to two or three films per day. As I am getting older I am unable to watch five films per day for seven days. Its too much mental pressure. Nowadays if I watch five films per day then my eyes really start aching and I get a severely bad headache. I guess I am getting old very fast.

The Film Festival is like Durga Puja for the film buffs. And the Nandan-Chattor feels like Maddox Square. In the last twelve years I have enjoyed watching films at Nandan-1 the most. That venue has always been my first preference. I simply love those push-back seats. The ambience inside the auditorium is very good.

Sometimes what happens is that if you are late in entering Nandan-1 before a film starts then all the seats get occupied pretty quickly and then you have to sit on the stairs. I have seen so many films sitting on the stairs.

There is another rule that once a film ends then the audience must go out of Nandan-1 and again come back inside through a queue. What I used to do was that once a film ended then I immediately used to go inside the toilet and maybe smoke a cigarette there and used to stay there for some time. Once the queue for the next film started entering the hall then I used to quickly come out of the toilet and join the queue. In this way I never had to leave Nandan-1.

My second hall preference is Rabindra Sadan. Though from the 3pm show, this venue literally proves to be a pain in the ass. All the Delegates, Guests and Press Card holders have to fit in the steep balcony. The seats below on the ground floor are for ticket holders. The balcony gets overcrowded. And suppose if one doesn't like a film, then it becomes very difficult for him or her to come out from the over-populated balcony.

In 2006, inspite of having a Delegate Card and just for novelty's sake, I had watched a few films at the top-most balcony at New Empire during the Film Festival. This balcony has only small wooden seats and they are really uncomfortable. The ticket price was just 10 rupees then. To enter this balcony, one has to get in through a shabby gate on the right side of New Empire and then walk up a never-ending flight of stairs.

(In the year 2000, I had seen the film GLADIATOR from this balcony. The ticket price back then was just seven rupees.)

I have a nice group of friends for the Film Festival. We all have been attending this Festival for so many years now. Throughout the year we hardly have time to meet up and only keep in touch mostly through Facebook but during the Film Festival we spend these seven days together like a family. We all love having jhal-muri and lebu-cha (lemon tea) together and indulge in never ending adda sessions. There is a boy named Uday who sells tasty lebu-cha at Nandan-Chattor. Previously he used to polish shoes there but nowadays he has become a chai-wallah. Maybe someday he will become the Prime Minister of India! 

At Nandan I have a pet dog. I have named him Prince. He loves me tremendously. I also love him a lot. Every time I go there, I feed him biscuits. He is very nice and sweet. He is really like my son. 

There is a flute player who comes to Nandan regularly and especially during the Film Festival. His name is Anil Mohonto. He plays the flute beautifully. Whenever I see him there I always go and talk with him. He is a very nice human being. 

There is another interesting man at Nandan-Chattor. His name is Swapan Biswas. He writes poetry under the pseudonym Akshaychand. I have bought all his poetry books over the years. He makes a living out of just selling his poetry books. He is a great friend of mine. I have even visited him at his house at Chandi Ghosh Road. Usually he is seen at the Nandan-Chattor, requesting people to buy his poetry books. Since my teenage days I have been noticing him at Nandan-Chattor. We became good friends around 2007. Here I am with him in front of Hori Da's Tea Shop during the 2014 Film Festival : 

The beauty of Nandan Chattor during the Film Festival is that one can come out of one auditorium in the middle of a film and enter another hall and watch the rest of the film that is running there. I have so many times left Nandan-1 during a boring film and then entered either Nandan-II or Nandan-III or Rabindra Sadan or Sisir Mancha. I have even sometimes left Nandan-I in the middle of a film, came outside, had some tea and snacks, and then went back to watch the remaining of that film.

I studied in St. Xavier's College from 2004 to 2007. In those years I used to bunk college for seven days to attend the Calcutta Film Festival. In our college we had a rule that if you bunk two consecutive classes then you needed an excuse-slip from the Vice-Principal to attend further classes. After the film festival, when I went back to college, the Professors used to ask me to get that excuse-slip. I used to go to the Vice-Principal but he used to get angry at me since I had bunked college to watch films. For the next seven days I used to go to him daily and every day he would refuse to give me the excuse-slip. So it was kind of a holiday for me. I used to go to college every day and spend time inside the canteen or at the green-benches or spend time surfing the internet at our computer lab. Most probably on the eighth or ninth day the Vice-Principal used to show mercy on me and give me that elusive excuse-slip. Then I used to again attend my classes.

Since 2011 I have been going regularly to the opening ceremony held at Netaji Indoor Stadium. Its a great thing to see the one and only Amitabh Bachchan and hear his speech. So many celebrities from Bollywood have been coming for the opening ceremony since the last six years but none can match the stature of the great Big B. He is the greatest Superstar that has ever lived in this universe. I worship him like God! 


I also love seeing the film related exhibitions at Gaganendra Pradarshashala. Two years back the exhibition was on the legendary Suchitra Sen. This year the exhibition is on the legendary Uttam Kumar. 

Every year at the Film Festival I have loads of fun. I see some good films too. I attend interesting seminars at Bangla Academy and at Jibanananda Sabhaghar. I have a great time throughout these seven days. I feel sad when the Festival gets over. The feeling is somewhat similar to the feeling one feels on Doshomi during Durga Puja. We all have to wait for the next year. Aaschhey Bochhor Aabar Hobey!

This year Nandan-Chatttor has been renovated in an unique way. The place has become more beautiful. I am really loving the new look of Nandan-Chattor. I am having tremendous fun there. Last year I took seven days off from my office just to attend the Film Festival. This year I am leaving office early just to go there and hang out with my friends. I have an emotional bond with the Calcutta Film Festival which has developed over all these years... 

P.S. : Check this link to see this year's Film Festival pics...


29 October 2016



I became a member of Orkut in the year 2004. It was the newest drug in town. In those days I was studying as a first year student of Political Science at St. Xavier's College, Calcutta. My friend from the Physics department had sent me an invitation to join Orkut. Yes, thats right, in those days one needed an invitation from someone else to join Orkut.

Orkut was a social networking website owned and operated by Google. The service was designed to help users meet new and old friends and maintain existing relationships. The website was named after its creator, Google employee Orkut Büyükkökten.

Instantly I was hooked on to Orkut. I loved its colour scheme. I loved its features. The only thing that I hated was the restriction that one could only upload twelve pictures. Not more than that. Obviously later on Orkut increased that number significantly.

Orkut was much better than Yahoo Messenger. On Yahoo Chat-rooms like Calcutta Global Chat-room, most of the time the females turned out to be males. In Orkut you got to interact with genuine female profiles. And the fake profiles were easy to point out too. Profiles which had pictures, such as the one below, as their DPs were all fake profiles.

Once you log into Orkut, your DP (Display Pic) was on the top left hand corner. Next to it was your name. Below your name were the number of scraps, photos, videos and the number of fans which you had. Your page was divided into three sections - Social, Professional and Personal. The top right hand corner showed your friends and below that were your communities. This was my very first Orkut DP in 2004. Today when I look at this pic it seems so corny. This was also my first effort at Adobe Photoshop. 

In those days I had a huge crush on Aishwarya Rai. Back then I had huge posters of Aishwarya Rai pasted on my bedroom walls. Most of the posters were from the film Devdas. I used to buy those posters from Esplanade. Here is another crude attempt at Photoshop. I had uploaded this picture too in Orkut when there was a restriction of only twelve photos.

Orkut was very useful in spying on ex-girlfriends. And also was very useful in stalking other beautiful women. I used to spy on my ex-girlfriend and used to read all her scraps. It gave me an idea of what was going on in her life. Though she did not want me to be a part of her life anymore, still through Orkut I felt that I was still a part of her life. I used to miss her tremendously and Orkut gave me some sort of a solace.

I sent her a friend request from my real Orkut account. She immediately blocked me. Therefore I had to create a fake account to keep track of her life. Through the fake account I came to know things like when she left Calcutta and went to Delhi for further studies and other stuff. 

I made a lot of friends on Orkut. Orkut was all about friending strangers and unfriending known people. It was all about becoming someone's fan and writing testimonials about them. You could send a private message or add someone to your hot-list or crush-list. You could also ignore some unwanted user and also report abuses. You also had to upload a lot of info about yourself and about your likes and dislikes, though it was optional. 

Orkut was about joining groups or communities about things like bangla rock to foreign language films. In those days I was an avid listener of rock music and an avid watcher of foreign films. I used to listen religiously to rock and metal music and watch films from different countries of the world. Orkut was the ideal place to interact with like minded people and exchange views and thoughts and get enriched in the process. 

The Nandigram massacre happened on 14th March 2007. We all instantly expressed our anger against the evil CPM on Orkut. All anti-CPM-minded people immediately friended each other and communities were formed overnight against the CPM. I wrote a poem on the night of 14th March and immediately uploaded it on Orkut. Later on it was published in Nabarun Bhattacharya's magazine "Bhashabandhan".

The first protest gathering was held at Metro Channel, opposite Metro Cinema, at Esplanade on 17th March 2007. On the night of 16th March, I got in touch with a lot of like-minded young boys in Orkut and we all decided that we all would meet the next day at the protest gathering at Esplanade. 

A lot of intellectuals and members of the civil society were present at the protest gathering. The great Kabir Suman had predicted such a scenario way back in 1998 in his album "Nishiddhyo Ishtehaar". Back then he had written "Ekdin Hobey Gono-Obbhyuthhan, Sedin Amar Gaan-er Bhaarar Khulo". And the predicted "Gono-Obbhyuthhan" really happened in 2007. All political and non-political forces came together and protested against the Left Front Government. 

When me and my friends saw Kabir Suman there, we asked him what should we do? He replied, "Anarchy Koro, Anarchy Koro". That day on stage Kabir Suman said the following lines on the microphone, "Ei Sala Khankir Chhele Buddho, Aay Aamakey Eshey Dhorshon Kor, Khomota Thakley Aamakey Eshey Rape Kor". Everybody started clapping. I was there standing just beside the stage on the left side. Fire was brimming over from Suman's eyes that day. He was confident that Nandigram would be the Waterloo of the CPM. Nabarun Bhattacharya spoke on the stage and declared that he was giving up his Bankim Award which he had received for his novel Herbert. Joy Goswami read two poems. I especially loved his poem "Shashoker Proti" very much. Another singer named Bidyut Bhowmik also sang a few protest songs. The protest programme went on throughout the day. One CPM pimp tried to create a minor disturbance and the crowd got a bit agitated for a moment, but Kabir Suman instantly calmed down the crowd with the song "Haal Chherona Bondhu".

A community called BAOS (Be Aware Of Surroundings) was formed in Orkut. I was a member of that community. At the height of the Nandigram movement we all decided to meet one day at Nandan and decided to bring out a little magazine by the same name - BAOS. Within a month we came out with our first edition. It was a proud moment for all the members. My name and phone number was there on the magazine as the founding member. Facebook played a very important role in the revolution of Egypt in 2011. Orkut had also played a very important role in the "Poriborton" of Bengal in 2011.  

Back in those days in Orkut there was a woman named Anamika who used to write very good poetry. There was a page where she used to upload her poems. Most of her poems were political in nature. However I don't know her true identity. The name Anamika was most probably a fake name. She could also be a man. But some of the poems were really good.  

In Anjan Dutta's song "Ranjana-2" from his 2007 album "Aami aar Godot", there were these lines :

Tumi Janabey Tomar Mot 
Dekhabey Naa Mukh
Sudhu Montobbye 
Bhorey Jabey Orkut
Sudhu Computer Achey Nei Oboshor Somoy
Tai Ranjana Aami Aar Ashbona Tomar Paraay...

In 2009 I fell in love with a woman and wrote the following poem as her Testimonial on Orkut :

Alice in Wonderland 

She is an Alice in Wonderland 
I like Her soft-spokenness    
I wish I could hold her hand 
A magical Enigma, by God's Grace 

Life itself has made Her Stronger 
Still She is weak like a Rose 
I really want to Love Her Longer 
Lets see, where this Emotion goes 

She is a Paradox, both Hot and Cool 
A Sense of Belonging I always get 
Am I rushing in as a Smitten Fool 
Wish I could take Her out on a Date 

A Date together from Dawn till Dusk 
From the far North to the South Pole 
What is the Meaning of Life, I ask 
We are All just going down the Rabbit-Hole 

The White Rabbit is showing Us the Road 
Though We are separated by a few Years 
This is nothing but Information-Overload 
We are All swimming in our own Pool of Tears 

But what about the Hypocrites of Society  
We both belong to an entirely different Class 
I don't care about the High and the Mighty 
We are All trying to look Through The Looking Glass 

But somehow there is a Layer of Sadness 
In Her soft serene gentle Eyes 
Though She gives me a Sense of Madness 
I wish She could have heard my Cries 

But it is True that She doesn't Love Me 
It is True that She doesn't really Care 
The Tragedy is out there for All to See
This is my Life, this ain't No Truth or Dare...

Orkut became immensely popular in India and Brazil. Facebook was there too but Orkut was more popular than Facebook. Then a strange thing started happening. Suddenly all the wannabe-beautiful-freelance-model-chicks started migrating to Facebook. The frustrated horny lonely boys had no choice but to leave Orkut behind and follow them there. People started leaving Orkut behind and started building up new lives in Facebook. No body actually deleted their Orkut accounts. The profiles were all there, but people started spending more and more time in Facebook and less and less time in Orkut. If one was still active in Orkut then he/she was considered to be a loser. To be seen in Orkut was considered down-market and an uncool thing.

I resisted the charm of Facebook for a long time. Initially I found it very difficult to migrate to FB. I tried my best to hang on to Orkut for as long as possible. But by then all my friends, enemies, ex-girlfriends, present girlfriends, former and latest crushes etc. had all already migrated to FB and had also started building houses there keeping in mind permanent netizenship. Thus with a heavy heart I also had to leave my comfort Orkutian-zone and enter into an unknown world. In the beginning I did not like FB's structure. Then that FB-Timeline thing happened which I hated even more. But with time I accustomed myself. I had no choice. I had to migrate to Facebook to move on with the times.

Orkut died a slow and painful death. On June 30, 2014, Google announced it would be closing Orkut on September 30, 2014. No new accounts could be created starting from July 2014. By then all Orkutans had migrated to Facebook. I really felt very sad on 30th September 2014. Orkut had become a part of our lives for a few consecutive years especially around 2007/2008. It was like the death of an old friend...