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Tips for Getting the Perfect Pujo Pic

 The following was published in Pashchimi 's annual magazine, Anjali.  Image courtesy: Feminism India Hey! Hey you - yes you.. Psst! Listen - I have some good advice for you. What do you mean... how do I know it's good advice? Of course it is… it’s come from a Bengali intellectual middle-aged man. It is the absolute pinnacle of brilliance! Anyway - it’s not about me: it’s about you. Just hear me out. Before we begin, though, I must warn you that there are always two ways you can interpret this advice. If one of them offends you, I meant the other one. Let’s just start by admitting that you are fat. Yep, you heard me: I called you fat more overweight than usual. Now, now…  drop that angry frown. Just admit to yourself: it is not the fault of the camera you look like this. The sooner you accept this reality for yourself, the faster you will find happiness. It is not the camera, it is not the dress, it is not the photographer - it is you. Your crash diet hasn’t worked (as the ba
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Valedictorian speech, WhatsApp University, Class of 2020

Editor’s note: the following is a transcript of the valedictorian speech which was delivered by the top ranked graduate from WhatsApp University, 2020. My fellow devouts, idealist numbskulls, and meme gamers,  I stand before you today, as a proud graduate of WhatsApp University. You have toiled with me by forwarding innumerable solid facts (#OthersCallItFakeNews), you have fiercely defended the “truthiness” of videos you have received from others, and definitely cursed WhatsApp for not allowing us to forward the same message to more than five people. To that end, and looking at the innumerable people whose opinions we have changed via civil discourse over the internet, I say - well done! I am reminded of the immortal words of Finley Peter Dunne that we read at the very beginning of our curriculum, “A fanatic is a man that does what he thinks the Lord would do if He knew the facts of the case.” The next time someone calls you a fanatic, wear that badge with honor. You do it with the sam

Tanmay confession: it is NOT due to Circumcision

If you have seen the play " Noises Off " by Naatak, then you would understand the rest of this post. I played the character of Tim (or Tanmay) in the play. Tanmay's confession: as narrated to Ruku (Ruku's comment: Tanmay is a sweetheart) I would like to begin by apologizing to everyone who came to watch the play. The delay was NOT due to Circumcision. I repeat, it was NOT due to Circumcision. I was merely reading from the page that I was handed and Fareed was the one who gave me the wrong word (I'll kill you). I would also like to blame Poppy for writing complicated English words like "circumstances". Clearly her pregnancy has put her vocabulary engine into overdrive. (Ruku's comment: Sorry? Did you just say that Poppy is having a baby?) Speaking of pregnancies, Loy, you bastard!  (Ruku's comment: Loy, you bastard!)  Even though Draupadi had filed for her third divorce while she was in the middle of "Draupadi ke Kesh", Loy mana

Memories of a man

The earliest memory I have of him is from one evening in our old home. We had to collect potable water from a nearby tap in the township, since the well in our yard wasn't always so clean. I had just returned from the playground, and had mentioned on the way back as I hung on to his hand that I was thirsty. He had gone out right afterwards to fetch water with a bucket in hand. In the dark summer evening when the electricity was out, I saw him entering through the door with a towel wrapped around his waist, hauling a solid iron bucket of water and ignoring the sweltering stillness of the humid evening. I was probably two or three years old at the moment. I walked up to him and said, "Baba, I am very thirsty". That seemed to put a special speed into his step. He nodded his head and assured me, "Right away"; filled water into a large filter jug and poured out a glass for me. That sort of served as the model he set as a human being. My mom would say, "I neve

Why I don't want to give you my Whatsapp number

Dear cousins, colleagues, and ex-classmates who want to send me "forward"s - please don't ask for my Whatsapp number. We are already friends on Facebook - let's keep talking there. I will avoid giving you my number at all costs, even sometimes by breaking down lines of communication. Let me explain why. You see, every morning when I wake up due to a "ding" notification from Facebook, and I open my messages to find this, I am not very pleased. Thank you for wishing me a wonderful day. I hope you have one too. But poor grammar, generous number of periods and random capitalization of letters are not the way to make my morning any better. Things like this make me want to throw up!! My heart bleeds and my brain farts every time I see things like this. You need relations? Try Tindr, Shaadi.com or some such thing! Puhleeaz don't bug me for relationships - I have my share already! And congratulations, by the way, on discovering the concept

The other side of the fence

 If you grew up in a suburb and played cricket or any game within the neighborhood, then you must be aware of the monster. I speak, of course, of the fat neighborhood aunty or the scowling old uncle who will threaten and curse you to eternal damnation if the cricket ball ever fell in their garden patch. You remember, of course, that the garden was not a Mughal garden. Or an extensive farm of epic proportions. It was, in fact, just a small 6-foot by 6-foot patch of land, neatly divided into four little squares. How on earth someone would cram so many plants into that space was a wonder by itself. My friends would tell me horror stories of this aunty who cuts up tennis balls in front of the children, just to make them realize that they should take the game elsewhere. Or that crazy half-naked uncle who caught hold of little Chintu sneaking in to get the ball, and held him hostage for an hour (even threatened to call the police). Yeah - it was ugly.  As a grown up person (at least I'

Time to Upgrade

When I was growing up, Parker pens were a big deal. Those special pens were expensive and given as gifts on special occasions. Think of your sacred thread ceremony (পৈতে), the birthday where you also happened to top your class final exams, or the special uncle who visited after five years and had to prove that he was well off - that is when you received one. Almost as a rule, we would stash those away. Possibly to give away as gifts to other kids on special occasions, or to be opened when the "time was right". I revered these pens, of course, and any time I heard of a professor or someone who wrote with one of those, it immediately elevated them into a haloed status for me. It either symbolized wealth, or erudition, or both. On that day, we were about to go to a sacred thread ceremony of some social acquaintance. I was tasked with finding a good pen set from our cupboard where these were stored. I started going through these one by one. For those of you unfamiliar with