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What can possibly happen if Romeo tags incorrect Juliet in his romantic tweet, or vice-versa?

In his famous tragic play, Romeo and Juliet, the author, William Shakespeare had his leading lady, Juliet Capulet, tell this to her lover, Romeo Montague –

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

(Here Juliet compares Romeo to a rose and tells him that a name is an artificial and meaningless convention. If he was not named Romeo, he would still be handsome and be Juliet’s love.  She loves the person named ‘Montague’, and not the Montague name or the Montague family.)

I bet Mr. Shakespeare did not see it coming in the era of social networking and trolling how fellow Indians would take this quote a bit too seriously and master the art of tagging incorrect names on social network posts.

We Indians are a bunch of emotional people and, like the rest of the world, take to social media for expressing our feelings. Looking at the calendar events of 2017, it is clearly evident that although we all are very competent and tech-savvy, and can type a sentence in our over-smart phones within a minute or a second, some of us do require to pay serious attention to tagging to ensure that the messages reach the correct person.

Why you ask? Because, in this era, it’s all in, and about, the name.

First, outraged by Snapchat’s CEO, Evan Spiegel, allegedly calling India ‘a poor nation’, the Twitterati Indians targeted to slam Snapchat but ended up unleashing their vitriol on Snapdeal instead. Amidst the trending #uninstallsnapchat hashtag, the e-commerce application faced a brand image crisis along with the loss of substantial number of customers, owing to the mass uninstallation, before the mistake was rectified. Thankfully, they realized that all ‘Snap’s are not the same.

Then, our very own Cheddi Singh, actor Sonu Sood, had to face the wrath of the angry Indians for sharing the same name with the famous singer, Sonu Nigam, who took to twitter to express his discomfort over morning Azaan (prayer call). The difference in the last name between the two personalities was overlooked and thrown out of the window while the Twitterati Indians floated #BoycottSonu hashtag threatening to boycott the actor and his movies. Baffled by the online hullabaloo, our own Bhaiyya-jee must have smiled ear-to-ear while expressing his surprise/shock in a Twitter post.

The saga of incorrect tagging did not stop at this.

When cricketer Zaheer Khan announced his engagement to the Chak De! India actress, Sagarika Ghatge, on social media, he was flooded with congratulatory messages on Twitter. Amidst all these warm wishes, the then coach of the Indian cricket team, Anil Kumble’s congratulatory post created a riot of laughter and series of trolls on the micro-blogging site when he mistakenly tagged journalist Sagarika Ghose instead of Sagarika Ghatge.

Soon after he corrected his mistake, the same goof-up was seen coming, and later corrected (post deleted), from the official Twitter account of IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils.

Along with the Twitterati team, Sagarika Ghose, too, joined the fun and posted –

Last but definitely not the least, as I am sure many more are yet to come, the Indian Twitterati broke into a frenzy yet again when a leading media house mistakenly tagged former diplomat, Shashi Tharoor, to announce the demise news of veteran actor, Shashi Kapoor, who recently passed away at the age of 79.

The impact of this incorrect tagging was so intense that Mr. Tharoor’s office started receiving calls from journalists, and he had to tweet back to announce his continued existence.

These hilarious mix-ups of names just create the much-needed exuberant atmosphere amidst the other dark news concerning the nation on a domestic and global level.

Coming back to Mr. Shakespeare’s quote, ‘What’s in a name’, I wonder what would be the possible response from the Twitteratis if Romeo and Juliet were born in this era of social networking sites, and either one of them tags a wrong person in his/her romantic tweet. Well, I would like to rest my brain from this ongoing saga of incorrect tagging and leave this on you to contemplate.

As for the rest of the Indian Twiterratti, ‘Kisiko bhi tag kardo, it’s all the same yaar! Naam me kya rakh hai? Bas, bhawnaao ko samjho’.

 

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Walk-ins and their daft questions: A reason why I hate interviews!

So, here is the fact. Recently, I attended a walk-in interview, why, because I needed an upgrade in my career, and in my salary of course. But, in this process, I realized that the selection process in the walk-in interviews is as banal and pointless as the questions asked in them. Looks like, some companies prefer the age-old, primitive methods and questions much like we prefer those ‘dadi k nuskes’ for fever or chicken pox.

Firstly, walk-in interviews generally happen on weekends and experience a horde of job-seeking candidates who can be categorized based on their body language and expressions. Some of them resemble the first bench students who pretend know everything; excited and prepared to answer any question popped to them. Some are excited like the kindergarten kids for getting a ‘Call Letter’. Some of them are so nervous that they prefer to sit or loiter around the washrooms and constantly memorize from the text books to the extent that their poor brains might explode any moment. Some of them are so frustrated of getting rejected from every interview that they are least bothered/interested about the happenings and outcome of the interview process. Some come to spend the weekend with friends as ‘there is nothing much to do’. So, basically, out of 100% only a few percent of candidates are the sincere job-seekers.

The interviewers are also irritated for spending a precious weekend scrutinizing so many candidates so that few ‘lucky’ ones get a job. How can a brain, devoid of rest and weekend party and alcohol, dig out some sensible questions for the entire herd? Thus, they too have some common insensible questions, as a revenge for spoiling their weekend, that somehow determine the fate of these candidates. If you ask me, it’s not their fault actually that the candidates fail to impress them by their doltish answers; the questions are too outdated to have a sensible answer.

Having waited like the chicken in the flock for two long hours, I finally got my turn to face the equally frustrated interviewers. I remembered the etiquettes I was taught in kindergarten and statements like ‘May I come in?’, ‘Thank you for having me’, [I will sit] ‘After you’, etc. started. The initial technical questions went well, and I constantly thought to myself, ‘Please spare me the cliched questions’, when the interviewer stared at me like a deadpan for few seconds and blurted these questions.

Tell me about yourself?. (Let me think! I have already handed over the information that you should know. Other than that, I like beer, cannabis and sex. Will that suffice?).”I am an experienced professional having…”

So, where do you see yourself in five years from now?”. (Say where? 5 years? I don’t know in which restaurant I see myself in for lunch right after this interview and you want to me step in a utopian world and travel 5 years ahead of time). “As a satisfied individual, holding a mid-management level position, probably conducting interviews as well”.

Why did you choose our company? (Duh! I am looking for a job and you just posted a vacancy. A good opportunity, you see! Or you wanted to hear that it is my dream to work with your company, you silly fellow!). “Well reputed, development prospects etc.”

How well do you think you fit into this company/role? (Lady, I’m hungry and right now I fit best in front of a large pizza and coke. Just tell me what you want to hear, and I will repeat your words). “I’m helpful, confident, dot, dot, dot..”.

Do you enjoy working in a team? How good are you a team player? Tell with examples ([Game of thrones music behind] The lone wolf dies but the pack survives). “I enjoy working with a team but can also perform as an individual contributor because…”.

Are you willing to travel occasionally?”. (So, you see, I am greedy and obsessed about getting my passport stamped as all the pages are still empty and I am already nearing 30. So where are you sending me? UK? US?). “Yes, I am open to travel and have a valid passport”.

Is your expected salary negotiable?. (Of course not! How could you even think such a barmy thing? I have not wasted my entire day sitting here and answering your silly questions just to let you lower my wage). “My salary is negotiable considering other benefits provided by your company”.

And many more. Last but not the least, then came the bumper question.

Why should we hire you?. (Like really? You really want me to give an answer to this preposterous question. Isn’t it obvious that I need a job to pay my bills and rent? Honestly, I don’t intend to die starving, so I need money for food. Oh! And, my grand-mom used to tell that I have sterling stars and am lucky (Subh) for others. So, if you want to have more business on your table, just trust my grand-mom and hire me). “Your company provides many services that I have had experience with, in a variety of capacities. [quoted few examples here]. I believe that my familiarity with the industry would make me a good fit for this position”.

Till this date, I presume they probably heard the honest, loud noises in my head that made them hand me the offer letter. Well, I guess sometimes age-old practices and dadi k nuskes do bring colors of joy in other’s life.

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Team West Bengal wins over team Odisha in the Rosogolla feud…..Hip Hip Hooray!

We, Bengalis, or Bongs as is popularly known, share a paramount love for food which is an integral part of our Bengali culture. We enjoy cooking as much as we enjoy eating. We love to eat and make others eat too! And trust me when I say that the gym stands a mere chance when it comes to choosing between a plate full of aromatic Kolkata Biriyani (with a boiled egg and a potato), and the gym. Ask any Bengali to talk about childhood and you will come to know how it revolved around mouth-watering, lip-smacking Bengali cuisines, especially including fish and sweets. Not only that, we Bongs, love to dig into the history and origin of anything that tickles our taste buds, and it is mainly for this reason that we stood unified to prove that ‘Rosogolla‘ originated in West Bengal, and not in Odisha.

Rosogolla’ gets its name from the combination of two different words, namely, ‘Ras’ (or ‘Ros’ in Bengali) meaning Syrup, and ‘Golla’ meaning ball. The soft, spongy and syrupy ball of happiness was the center of the long debate between the two neighboring states: West Bengal and Odisha. While the debate was never low-pitched over generations, it took an intense turn in 2015 when the government of West Bengal filed for a Geographical Indications (GI) tag for the variant called ‘Banglar Rosogolla’. The state clarified that there is no dispute with Odisha and they are not seeking claim over the dessert but only over the variant native to the state with the intention of protecting its identity.

Bengal’s Claim

In the application, West Bengal State Food Processing and Horticulture Development Corporation Limited represented by its managing director stated that ‘Banglar Rosogolla’ was created by a confectioner named Nobin Chandra Das (1845-1925) in 1868, two years after he set up his sweet shop in Sutanuti, present day Bagh Bazar, North Kolkata, in 1866. The dessert got its Bengali recognition and appreciation as ‘a treasure of Bengal’ when poet Rakhaldas Adhikari appreciated the sweet in his poem ‘Rasikata’ in 1896. In 1906, Panchanan Bandyopadhyay, an eminent writer, also wrote about the Bengali origin of ‘Rosogolla’. According to him, ‘Rosogolla’ shares the same birth place, Phulia, with Krittibas Ojha, a Bengali poet credited for translating the epic ‘Ramayana’ into Bengali (known as Krittivasi Ramayana). Panchanan Bandyopadhyay also states that ‘Rosogolla’ was invented by Haradhon Moira, a confectioner from Phulia village (also called ‘Fulia’) in Nadia district of Bengal, who worked for Pal Chowdhury’s of Ranaghat. The application submitted by the government of West Bengal also clarifies the difference between ‘Banglar Rosogolla’ and ‘Rosogolla’ made in other states in terms of color, texture, taste, juice content, and method of preparation. ‘Banglar Rosogolla’ is off white / light cream color, soft and spongy ball of ‘chhana’ (or cottage cheese) dipped in light sugar syrup.

Image Source: Internet

Odisha’s Claim

On the other hand, Odisha is yet to submit its application to obtain the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for their variant of the popular sweet called ‘Pahala Rasgulla’ which is comparably brownish in texture. The state finance minister, Shashi Bhusan Behera, stated “We are yet to submit our application to get GI tag for our rasgulla. A committee is working on the application. Once it is ready, we will apply for the GI tag”. According to Odisha’s historians, ‘Rosogolla’ first originated in Puri, a city in Odisha, as ‘Khira Mohana’, which was later modified into the ‘Pahala Rasgulla’. The sweet found its name, ‘Pahala’, from its namesake village located on the outskirts of Odisha’s capital Bhubaneshwar. ‘Pahala Rasgulla’ is offered as ‘Bhog’ to Goddess Lakhsmi at Jagannath’s Temple, Puri. Odisha’s Higher Education, Science and Technology minister Pradip Kumar Panigrahi formed a committee, headed by Jagannath cult scholar Asit Mohanty, in 2015, to trace the origin of the infamous sweet. The committee stated in their interim report, submitted in 2015, that the existence of the sweet can be traced back to 600 years when it was offered to Gods. They also referenced the sweet’s existence in ‘Dandi Ramayana’ which is a version of the famous epic adopted by Balaram Das in the 16th century. The committee claimed to have found evidence in Odia literature published by the Calcutta University in 1924 favoring the claim of the sweet’s origin in Odisha. The state also celebrated ‘Rasgulla Dibasa’ on 30th July 2015 to commemorate the mythical beliefs and celebrate the origin of the sweet.

Image by Subhashish Panigrahi.

What is GI tag?

A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin. Since the qualities depend on the geographical place of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original place of production.

http://www.wipo.int/geo_indications/en/

Bengal’s Victory

In November 2017, Assistant Registrar, GI Registry, Chennai, Chinnaraja G. Naidu, stated that after examining the application filed in September 2015 and scrutinizing documents, the GI Registry has accorded the GI certificate to West Bengal State Food Processing and Horticulture Development Corporation Limited for ‘Banglar rosogolla’ on 14th November 2017.

West Bengal’s Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee also expressed her delight on a popular social media platform for obtaining the much-coveted certificate.

Being a Bengali, it is exhilarating for me as well as Dhiman Das, great-great-grandson of Nobin Chandra Das, to see ‘Banglar Rosogolla’ win the tug-of war and get the GI tag. Nevertheless, being a sweet lover, I wish good luck to our neighboring state for obtaining the same for ‘Pahala Rasgulla’. Looks like, amidst this tussle, ‘Rosogolla’ had the last laugh.

Well, some wars and debates need not end with violence and cruelty; they can also have sweet and syrupy ending. As for me, let me cram my bowl with the victorious ‘Rosogollas’ and gulp down one or two while I am writing this post.

Ki Moshai, apnio ki ‘Rosogolla’ khaben ?

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Low-visibility weight-loss goals and a smoggy dinner

Sometime after lunch: Having expanded our bellies after eating voluminous portions of Afghani Chicken and Tandoori Chicken for lunch, I declare to the man of the house that starting from the coming day, I will resume my morning running schedule to shed those extra pounds that I have collected over months of indulging in some high-calorie, mouth-watering delicacies. I hand over a set of low-calorie recipes and menus that I have planned to prepare starting the next day to keep both of us in good shape. The man of the house intensely looks at the piece of paper, scrutinizes the weight-loss schedule and the recipes, rolls his eyes, laughs and walks off the table.

“This might be the hundredth thousandth time you have announced this, and nothing happened”, he remarked blatantly.

Pushed back into the dark zone of truth, I realize what he is telling is probably right. It is true that I have viewed million weight-loss recipes, chalked out innumerable weight-loss diets, been the most inconsistent student at the gym, and yet shamelessly chose Afghani Chicken and Tandoori Chicken over healthy salads. It is true that I have failed uncountable times in my eternal quest to lose weight, and witnessing all this, the man of the house has lost more faith in my weight-loss promises than the amount of weight I have actually lost.

“This time for sure, you’ll see”, I replied grumpily. I meant it. This time, I was all pumped up to resume my strict regime and fit myself in the shiny party wears that have merely transformed as my cupboard decoration as I no longer fit in them.

6.00 pm: It is a regular schedule at home to upgrade our general knowledge by watching National and International news while sipping hot tea. I prepared some green tea for myself and regular milk-sugar tea for him and sat in-front of the ancient television that we’ve been planning, since ages, to replace with a ‘naya zamane ka tv’ (new generation tv). Even the television, or any gadget enhancement as a matter of fact, never fail to make us feel old with such generation-wise nomenclature that sometimes sounds like ancient scriptures, too difficult to understand.

No sooner did we open the infamous news channels, all we could see and read in the headlines was the news of the deadly smog blanketing Delhi and Delhi NCR, all thanks to the crop and paddy field burning in neighboring states, mass constructions, and many more. The air quality has worsened to a hazardous and fatal level with AQI values soaring as high as 420 and above in certain places in the national capital that doctors have suggested the residents to refrain from morning walks, runs and all sort of outdoor exercises should the residents wish to add few more extra years to their lives.

“There goes my morning walk schedule and weight-loss goals vanishing in smog”, I mumbled in a disappointed tone. If the situations remain as co-operative as the current one, my eternal quest to shed those extra kilos will also gradually diminish in the heavy smog, much the like the visibility in the national capital.

I suggested the man to buy some protective masks to shield the fine particles and other pollutants from entering our active bodies.

9.30 pm: Having flushed my morning walk plans through the window, I decided to prepare something good for dinner. After careful observation of the available ingredients, I decide to make Rajma-Chawal – a North Indian delicacy relished by my husband. I am a very passionate person when it comes to cooking and love to prepare any dish to complete satisfaction. So, I ended up making a wok full of thick, rich and dark rajma gravy, and a good quantity of rice. Amused by my culinary skills and the kitchen accomplishments, I called out to the man of the house after serving the much-awaited delicacy in a restaurant-style manner (To be honest, I copied the serving style from a popular cooking show – a (inverted) bowl of rice placed in the center of a white plate with thick gravy smeared on top).

As we were having our dinner over a discussion of the critical state of the national captial, out of all the odds in the world, my husband thanks me for his favorite rajma-chawal saying this – “Mast bana hai aaj, smog-wala rajma”. I was absolutely taken aback and speechless, not because I was elated by his gesture, but because I could not derive what sort of appreciation was that! Did he really appreciate the dinner, or he is thanking me for my mere efforts of preparing his dinner? It didn’t even occur to me to say ‘welcome’ to such ambivalent sentence.

“What do you mean?”, I asked with a totally blank expression. “Is it not good enough?”, the passionate cook in me wanted an explanation.

“It is an appreciation, pagli, nothing bad. The rajma gravy is exceptionally thick (like smog) and tasty”, he chuckled as he relished a mouthful of it.

Well, I thanked the Almighty that he has not ‘tasted’ the smog so far, but secretly prayed to HIM to clear some smog in his head to avoid such dubious one-liners in the name of appreciation while I gulped down some of the smoggy rajma chawal silently.

Looks like smog is truly the new flavor of the national capital.

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Trick or Treat: Tricked by many, I treated myself with a chocolate cake this Halloween.

I am a woman with no super powers. Like million others, my life is molded in a simple schedule. The mornings comprise of the completion of some mandatory tasks with feverish haste before I leave the house to earn my daily bread. The appointed maid has vowed to share a part of the task and take charge of the cleaning chores daily. Hence, the part played by my eccentric maid holds a great importance in both my life and schedule.

(Few days before Halloween)

7.45 am: I am restlessly waiting for my maid to arrive to start off the daily chores. I have absolutely no information so far if she is has chalked some evil plans to ditch me at work or if she is running late. Honestly, I hate it when she makes me wait. This might sound like a rant coming a from a vexed boyfriend who is waiting for her tardy girlfriend at the park. But this is a complain coming from a woman who is solely dependent on her eccentric maid to finish the cleaning chores so that the woman can reach office on time. Suddenly, the morning silence in the house cracks with my glass-shattering ringtone playing loud, heavy strumming of electric guitar with lyrics from Rajinikanth’s super-hit movie, Kabali, ‘Nerrupu da, Nerungu da, Mudiyuma…’. It is a call from the eccentric maid to inform, at such sarcastically early hours, that she won’t be coming for work. Now, I will have to do mine as well as her tasks before I leave for work. Sometimes, I wish I had no phone to be the bearer of such horrible news.

9.00 am: Still in the process of completing the regular tasks, I complained to my husband how unfair life is with us, the corporate people. Taking in consideration the monstrous lay-offs happenings in the corporate world, somewhere deep inside the heart, everyone is skeptical about their jobs. Dare we behave like these eccentric maids and blatantly declare about our absence from work, the possibility of one final mail or a warning letter is inevitable. Some great men invented the ‘loss of pay’ concept that is used as a master weapon by the companies to make people avail their leaves at the cost of their salary (a part of it). I grudged that if we dare to use either of these punishment tactics: termination mail, warning letter, or worse, loss-of-pay concept, on these eccentric maids, more difficult and cursed days (to find a maid replacement) would befall upon us. Such is the irony of fate! His intermittent laughter echoed in the hall.

5.30 pm: The bearer of bad news beeps again. I have received a message from the bank stating that my beloved salary is credited in the account. It is true when the husband says that I wait for my salary more than I’ve ever waited for him. But wait, there has been some heavy deductions from the salary that I know nothing of. I approach the finance department, and after long hours of discussions, mail-checking and verifying, they confirmed the calculation mistake from their end, and assured that the balance would be credited with the next month’s salary. I silently wondered what mayhem the eccentric maid would have created had I done this to her even with valid reasons, smiled at the finance department personnel, thanked him for this wonderful Halloween gift and left the room.

8.30 pm: While baking some chocolate cakes for dessert, I informed the husband about the Halloween gift I received from office. To regale myself, I googled and read out about Halloween’s ‘trick or treat’ game. As the bright screen flashed in my eyes, I read out loud to make sure the husband listens to me, “Wikipedia states, the word ‘trick’ implies a ‘threat’ to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no ‘treat’ is given.”, to which I immediately blurted out, “I was tricked by all despite giving all sort of treats. My salary got deducted despite me working hard. The eccentric maid skipped work despite getting so many leaves a month.”

9.00 pm: While putting up the decorative pumpkin lanterns, fake cobwebs, and rubber spiders, the husband recites a small poem he’d learnt in his primary school, “When witches go riding, and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers, it’s near Halloween.”

With the husband satirizing my situation with such heart-warming poems, the finance department of my office deducting a substantial part of the salary, and the eccentric maid evading daily work, looks like this year Halloween has started early for me.

Happy Halloween.

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