Tag Archives: Pune

Ms. Rose Chasm: The Cross Who Double Crossed Us

the cross that double crossed us

Continuing her crusade in India’s defence, Shwetha Kalyanasundaram, brings to you more evidence of why she thinks this entire Ms. Chasm story is a campaign to malign India. A must read. 

A chance comment posted under my article on CNN iReport titled “My India: The Mistaken Story – An Indian Woman’s Perspective” (first published on Mission Sharing Knowledge) caught my attention.

Quoting the person under the pseudonym ‘moonboat’ – “Michela Cross posted a number of videos on YouTube during her trip, including one that gives quite a different account of the Ganesha festival incident she related. In the video, she gushes on about how she loved all the attention and photos being taken of her. In the current circumstances, where her story is being taken as gospel and this story has gone viral, I find the videos are appalling. She also shows herself to be ignorant and disrespectful of Indian culture.”

And this had a bunch of us looking at the videos posted by Ms. Cross on her channel in YouTube. Boy! Weren’t they interesting! And we realized that some of her statements were in total contradiction to her article “India: The Story You Never Wanted to Hear”.

Here’s how…

Her video published on September 29, 2012, where she talks about her experiences at the Ganesha festival

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPu2GmF4Y44

Quoting Ms. Cross from the video

  • “We were grabbed by a bunch of GIRLS who started dancing with us, flashing paint on our faces, which was COOL”
  • “Taking loads of photos of us, I felt like a CELEBRITY. If you wanna feel like a celebrity, be a WHITE person and GO TO INDIA”
  • “We danced for 12 more hours to Bollywood music and we were given lots of food. It was super cool. I felt like I was in a movie”
  • “Fun facts – The Ganesha festival which ended today is…ummm…Ganesha is the God who is prayed to for the start of journeys and travels. I consider it GOOD LUCK”

Wow Ms.Cross! This is so contradictory to what you had put up in your story about the Ganesha festival!!!

Quoting from her article “I was prepared to follow the University of Chicago’s advice to women, to dress conservatively, to not smile in the streets.” However, your video titled “Whipping Boy” published on October 2, 2012 has you saying that your roommate and her friend embarked on an adventure and smiled at the people on the streets!

Didn’t you just break the rules?!? And you say you weren’t prepared for all the stares/glares that sliced away bits of you piece by piece! You brought it on upon yourself – you purposefully drew the locals’ attention on you! And you blame us?!? Preposterous is the word (that would just be an understatement actually!).

There are 6 videos that have been put up by Ms. Cross on YouTube with reference to her India trip – especially her three months of stay in Pune. Surprisingly, none of her videos show signs of struggle or trauma. And you are struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) now?!? I’m no psychiatrist Ms. Cross – but all I can say is you are suffering from a serious bout of “Attention Deficit Disorder”.

Ms. Cross, now I’m really starting to wonder if your whole article “India:  The Story You Never Wanted to Hear” was a sham to tarnish the image of my beautiful country. You’ve taken the entire nation for a highly emotional ride. Your article drew in a lot of support from my fellow compatriots and this pretence of an article is like a slap on their faces. Deplorable act I must say!!

P.S: @Moonboat – whoever you are, thanks a lot for bringing this to our notice. We owe this article to you!

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Journey To The Alphonso Land

By Sudhir Verma, Avanturas

Vada pav with hot tea at a road side joint. Perfect start to the Pune trip!

Monty looked slimmer, younger, and happier. I was glad to see him. Over the last 2 years, since he moved from Bangalore, our lives had come a long way trudging through somehow. But that’s a long personal story we’d rather keep buried.

After a few days in Pune, Ratnagiri was next, which is an 8 hour, 350 kms journey from Pune. Monty suggested I take his car, or whatever remained of it.  The blue Maruti Esteem had withered almost 13 years of interstate travel. Now the AC hardly functioned, the driver side window was stuck, and the left headlamp wouldn’t glow. Yet, in the Avanturas spirit and raised eyebrows, I agreed to take a chance. The engine was still powerful. It easily touched 140 km/h and the brakes were equally responsive.

Road to Lanja

An early start from Pune to avoid the rush hour office traffic and I had hit the highway by 8 am, en route an Alphonso orchard 50 kms south of Ratnagiri. I had intended to take a break for lunch around 1, but the road and the superb drive through the ghats didn’t make me want to stop. It turned out to be a good call when the orchard owner, Mr. Ranade, warmly welcomed me with yummy home-made Konkani lunch and an unlimited Alphonso supply.

After a quick 30 minute snooze I took out my Nikon D5100 and stepped out to explore the vast orchard. Mr. Ranade had given me a free hand. I could eat as many mangoes as I could handle, from those that had just fallen from the trees, or plucked fresh if I were athletic enough to climb the trees. I was certainly not going to let go of this opportunity. The last time I climbed trees, explored farms, or plucked fruits must have been a decade ago.

Alphonsos

Let me not even begin to count how many mangoes I had. I was acting like a shameless child who had never seen mangoes before. What fun! Over the next two days, Mr Ranade hosted me graciously and took me around his village to see the ice factory and paddy fields, taught me to milk the cows and treated me to some delicious Konkani dishes. The eating area is on the open terrace overlooking the entire orchard, with a mild sea breeze through the day making it a perfect place for a relaxed meal.

Beach

What made this whole experience even more exciting was this beautiful secluded beach just half a km from the orchard. One has to walk down for about 5 minutes from the hill to access the beach and it seemed like an easy child friendly walk. Over the few hours that Mr Ranade and I spent at the beach, we didn’t see a single soul venture out. If only I had my gang out there!

On the return journey to Pune, while I was reflecting back on the two refreshing days I had spent at the Orchard, I had no idea that the most exciting part of this trip was yet to unfurl. Let’s scroll up a little. Remember the Esteem’s left headlamp wasn’t working? Since the latter part of the drive was going to be at night, at 5:30 pm I stopped at a garage near Lanja, some 50 kms from the orchard. It was already 6:30 pm by the time the mechanic finished the job. I had tea at the small local joint and hit the road again. Just after Lanja, the ghats get denser. It must be 8 pm and deep inside the ghats when suddenly both the headlamps went off. Damn, what the hell just happened? It took me 4-5 seconds to come to a screeching halt. I got out of the car in pitch darkness and found myself just a few inches from the edge of the road. Slightly delayed reflexes and who knows!

After 15 minutes of futile effort to get the lamps up again, I decided to seek help. But who would stop to help a stranger in the middle of darkness? I assumed at least the truck drivers might, but I was wrong. By 8:45, with no help, there were only two options I could think off. Either park the car on the side and sleep the night off OR follow a bus or a truck slowly till I reach the next town. The second was going to be very tricky and perhaps dangerous, but I wasn’t going to sleep the night off in the ghats for obvious reasons. So after almost 30 trucks and buses had zipped past me, finally a truck came to my rescue, heavily loaded and slow enough to follow. The idea was to drive within 2 meters range behind the truck and follow its front headlight to navigate the turns, but it turned out to be a bad call. The truck was so wide that I could barely see its front lights and only one of its back red lights was working, so it was even harder to judge its edges. Within 2-3 minutes I was back to a halt. With nothing else seeming like a wise option, I took out my phone to dial for help. And as you rightly guessed….no signal!

Epic! I was so totally stuck.

While the first attempt at following the truck was useless, I decided to give it another shot, but this time perhaps a car. Finding a slow car was going to be much tougher, but luckily I found one, slowly working the ghats’ turns. For the first time ever I was happy to see what I saw next, an L (Learner’s) mark at the back of the car. No wonder the car was so slow. While it was slightly easier following a car than a truck, it was still a risk. If you are ever driving on a dark road, try it maybe. Switch off the headlamps for a few seconds. Just for the kicks! You’ll know the feeling. For the next 30-35 minutes, I followed the car and reached Malkapur. It must be about 10 pm, but the town still had some life. Yet, what were the chances that I’ll find a garage open? Nil. They were all closed. Disappointed, I walked up to a tea shop to ask if there was any lodge I could spend the night at.  The tea shop guy was a young boy, Ashok, who was in a mood for a chat. And I needed someone to crib to. He started to brag about this world famous mechanic in their town who could repair anything. You bet! I told him I once had a dog that could wash clothes.

But he insisted and offered to take me to the mechanic’s house. Thinking that this could help me get back to Pune tonight, I accepted the offer. We waited for his father, who had gone to get some dinner, to get back so he didn’t have to shut the shop. While we were getting into the car, two more boys jumped out of nowhere and got into the rear seat. For the first time that night, I felt the “oh shit’ feeling. They were Ashok’s friends and joined in since for them it seemed like an adventure to take me to the mechanic’s house. But I wasn’t feeling that adventure, especially on a night that had already been too strange. I took my time starting the engine, giving myself time to think if I wanted to bail out of this. I decided to go ahead with it. If these boys meant harm, they were already in the car. I had to deal with it now. They guided me towards some dark by lanes and I was scheming on how I’ll jump out and grab the tool kit if the need arose. Eventually, they lead me to the mechanic’s house as they had promised. We had to wake up the mechanic but he very amicably helped me out. Turns out that previous mechanic at Lanja had used an inferior fuse which gave up.

The Saviours

Within 5 minutes the lights were on and I was back on road, but not before I had captured them all together with my Nikon. I dropped the boys back to the tea shop and offered them some money and a box of Alphonsos for having been so kind. They politely declined the offer saying it was their duty to help someone in need. With a promise to stop by for tea whenever I visited their world again, I put some Floyd on and accelerated towards Pune.

One of the most memorable trips in Avanturas’ journey.

PS: The Orchard is 190 KMs from Baga Beach, Goa. If you are travelling to Goa, it’ll be a good idea to add this experience to the itinerary. 

Best season: Jan-April.

For details, connect with Avanturas.

Porn and I

porn and i

By Joybrato Dutta

Long back I heard a quote written by the great Harivansh Rai Bachchan. He said “Mandir Masjid bair karaye, mel karaye Madhushala”. If only he lived in our times when pornography is no longer restricted to books, he would realise that boys unite much before they start drinking.

As any other kid I was born curious. And then I got the answer to every secret of human life.

THE GANG-BATE – 10th standard, Jamshedpur

My parents had left for Kolkata and I was supposed to be alone for the weekend. Perfect time to invite friends for ….whatever. I called 2 of my very close friends Bittu and Bunty and asked them to get some porn. For some reason they thought porn should be watched in a group and so when I opened my door I saw 28 male classmates grinning at my doorstep. No wait, all weren’t my classmates, some got their neighbours too.

Before I could insert the CD I warned them that I stay in an apartment where walls have ears and the neighbours have long tongues. But apparently porn cures eyes and deafens you. No sooner did I hit the ‘Play’ button they screamed so loud that even the female pornstar stop screaming and turned towards us.

My friends came from good families so manners were inculcated in them. Basically they got their own hand-towels. Unlike other great films, porn is a film you are supposed to leave half way through. Too bad I had just one bathroom. Wish the queue on Election day could have been as long. But hats off to the potency of my bathroom’s latch. It just didn’t break. Which made sure my friends get to know each other better.

Result: a blocked drain, a slippery bathroom, a bunch of hand-towels and an empty bottle of room spray. Also, I had to pay 500 rupees to my maid. No it wasn’t for what you think, on the contrary it was to keep her mouth shut.

PORN PAUSED – 11th standard, Pune

It was my 4th month in Pune and I had already made some good friends. One of my good friends Atul invited a few of us to his place to play cards. Most non-Bengalis think that Bengalis are good at it so he called me thrice just to confirm. Another Bong friend and I reached his house to find 3 other friends waiting for us.

After a few rounds we got bored and were contemplating over the next game we should play, when suddenly a shrill voice spoke the magical words “Pondy dekhna hai?”.

Cut to 5 seconds later

6 of us were sitting in front of the huge television set waiting for the movie to begin. And then it began. Watching God’s masterpiece in exactly the way he designed it, is always a treat.

When you are watching a film where the audio is supposedly all about sighs and deep breaths a dialogue can be really scary. But when it is in Hindi it can only mean ATUL’S MOM HAD RETURNED. “Khana kha liya aap logo ne”, she inquired.

Suddenly from being high on adrenaline we entered a semi-conscious zone. But somehow we managed to find the remote and pressed the button. To our misfortune the ‘Pause’ button. Guess porn had an amazing effect on the television too. It just refused to ‘turn off’. Alas! Technology sucks. She came to us, had a good look at the television set and left. She couldn’t see much. Two huge boobs in the television screen were blocking her view.

Since then we never watched porn. In Atul’s house.

WRONG HAND – 12th standard, Jamshedpur

My board exams were just a month away and I was in Jamshedpur for my study leave. Those days we didn’t have to rent porn, our cable operator was really helpful. Anytime between 9 PM to 11 PM one of them called one of us to say the name of the movie and the time. We insisted on the names because that helped us survive the prolonged wait.

My phone rang at 10:30 PM. “Ek baje, Witches of Brooklyn” the voice on the other side said and disconnected. Excitement rose as if the hottest girl had just asked me out. I just couldn’t wait for my parents to sleep. Adrenaline gushed through my veins.

The clock struck one and I switched on my television. The movie had just begun. It featured one of my favourites – Stormy Daniels.

Pornstars are the only actors who can extract reactions out of their audiences. And I am just a mere mortal with hardly any power of resistance. Buttons unhooked. Trouser unzipped. A hand on my shoulder. Errrrrrrr……….

The last time my dad saw me in such a condition was probably before I even entered a school. I am sure he never wished to see me in that state either.

Next day cable connection was disconnected, phone was shifted from my room and of course my dad started asking me questions pertaining to my subjects. A childhood ruined.

Porn has also been a saviour for me on various occasions. For example during ‘ragging days’ I was treated well because my seniors knew I had a good collection of porn. I wasn’t sacked from my 1st job (call-centre) in spite of the fact that I called an American chutiya over the phone, simply because my boss was aware of my collection.

But none of my misadventures can match my friend who made the worst decision ever. He wanted to make love to his girlfriend. His idea of seducing a girl was by making her watch porn. If only he knew that he wasn’t as gifted as American porn-stars, he would not have remained a virgin.

Quote quote ke maaro – Men who are united by porn can never be divided by caste.

Uncalled for

By Joybrato Dutta

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Have you met people who smile in the most intense situations? Or those who can start singing even in the middle of a conversation? Or come up with the weirdest answers at an awfully wrong time? Aren’t they weird? At times they can look like a complete asshole and make a mockery out of themselves. Invariably their acts are considered condescending or insensitive. Well this is the perspective of one such weird insensitive prick.

Case 1 – Police ki ragging

Since the time I left college I have turned into a really decent guy. I don’t indulge in bar-fights, hardly raise my voice and I don’t tease the cops (not even the traffic police).

But one day my friend and I got really drunk. And then booze oozed up his confidence and he decided to drive.

It was 2AM, the roads were empty and the traffic signals were on stand-by mode. Under these conditions you can hardly go wrong spotting the vehicles on the road. In that peaceful hour my friend saw a hanging red light. He decided to take a 360 degree turn around it. At 90 degrees our car crashed. With a white Qualis. On which the red light was placed.

Next I know there were two cops abusing us. They were speaking gibberish. At least that’s what it seemed. My friend started having a heated argument. They were about to take us to jail. They reminded us of our seniors from college. Any ragging scene would have looked pretty similar. Amidst that one of the cops asked my friend his name and he replied “My name is Sanjay Kumar gaand mara ke”.

There was pin drop silence. The windy atmosphere also adjusted to this melodramatic scene.

Flashback

My friend Sanjay and I were room-mates in college. He was the biggest Don in college and I was the biggest flirt. Together we were noticed by everyone. He introduced me to smoking and smoking-up. I shall always remain thankful to him for that. Well, none of this information is important here.

Let’s get to the point. During first semester ragging was the most interesting social network available. We interacted with a lot of seniors. Both male and female. We gave roses to a lot of female seniors. It was a part of ragging. And to some more female seniors. It was a part of socialising. This was the fun part; let’s get to the funny part.

We had a typical way of bonding. Post dinner we juniors were called near the ‘Boys Amenities Centre’. Where we were asked to demonstrate a few Kamasutra poses. And a few innovative ones. Once we had animatedly fucked our batch-mates we had to shout out our names. The pseudo full names. Where your whole name is your first name and the common last name given was ‘Gaand mara ke’. So names sounded like Rahul Pandey Gaand Mara Ke, Shashank Yadav Gaand Mara Ke, Ankan Banerjee Gaand Mara Ke. We did this for 8 months. Of which in the last 6 months we did it to our school-names and the names of our hometowns as well.

As years passed by, those scenes got blurred. Little did Sanjay know, that 4 years from then he would be confronted by a cop who would look like our senior and bark in a similar voice. But when he did face someone like that he answered like a perfect fresher.

Of course the cops thought we were drunk. In fact they knew it. They were startled. So was Sanjay. His arrogant voice turned apologetic. I couldn’t help but smile. In fact I laughed like crazy. Sanjay could not believe my reaction. But the cops found the scene amusing. I am so glad they had a sense of humour. They let us go. But not before we paid them five hundred rupees. Courtesy – Mr. Sanjay Kumar Gaand Mara Ke.

Case 2 – Ladki ke papa.

 Last weekend I visited Pune to attend a friend’s birthday party. As usual I was late to reach and I made sure two of my friends (Sandy and his girlfriend Neha) also get delayed. Finally we reached at 9 PM. Party had hardly begun because we were carrying the cake as well.

At around 1AM we wrapped up. I left the party with Sandy and Neha. Suddenly Neha remembered that she wasn’t drunk enough and she felt she was being unfair to herself. She persuaded Sandy to buy some alcohol which we can savour sitting in he car. And that’s exactly what happened next.

It was 2:30 AM; we were pissed drunk as we entered Neha’s society’s gates. We spotted her parents standing below the apartment. Even before she stepped out of the car she started apologising. Apparently she had been ignoring their calls since the last 3 hours. Her dad called us out of the car “Who are these boys I want to talk to them right now.” Sandy did not appreciate the invitation but reluctantly stepped out of the car. Poor thing was about to meet Neha’s parents that week to seek permission to get married to Neha. Not the perfect introduction I would say.

For the next twenty minutes we faced the rant of an over-concerned parent. Logical questions like “Do you know what time it is? Don’t you have some respect for the girl? How can you be so careless? Do you think it’s a good habit to go out drinking with a girl so late?” followed.

I was extremely tempted to answer a few questions but I didn’t want to ruin Sandy’s future. Neha’s dad then said that he knew about what’s cooking between Sandy and his daughter. He actually wanted to call him the following day. But haaye re kismat!!!

I looked at Sandy’s face. His face defined embarrassment. And I laughed. Not subtly but monstrously. Everyone else was shocked. Sandy gave me a look of disgust. Very similar to the stare I gave him 8 years back.

8 years back

 I was in class 12. In those days tuition is where you did the actual learning. My Friends and I were attending the Chemistry tuition conducted by our dear Mr. Pingle. After whom a drink is named. It’s called Pina Colada or Pingle ka lo…. something. Can’t remember.

Half way through his class my room-mate Jai walked into the class. He was perspiring profusely. He whispered something into Mr. Pingle’s ear after which he made an announcement – “Joy, you have to go home. Some CBI guy came looking for you”.

My heart skipped a beat. I swear I was scared. And embarrassed. The entire class was looking at me as if I had raped someone. My friends Bhajji, Pulsar, Firangi, Vandy, Ronky, Sandy and I left the classroom. Mr. Pingle allowed them to come along because even he felt I needed moral support.

We reached home and waited. It was the most painful wait of my life. My friends had distrust in their eyes. They tried to ask me the same questions in various ways. They tried to ask me if I had molested/killed/hit someone. The answer was NO.

After ten thousand years the doorbell rang. With reluctance in my heart I opened the door. “Are you Joy?” a tall bulky looking man asked. His moustache was similar to that of Aamir Khan’s in Mangal Pandey. The moment I said yes he dragged me out of the house.

We were standing at the parking. And then he started his rant. During which I figured that he was the father of my dear friend Jasmine.

Jasmine and I went to the same Maths tuition where we became good friends. Every day I used to drop her home. She stayed in a society infested with over-orthodox inhabitants. These residents probably had a crush on me or were too possessive about Jasmine. So they went up to Jasmine’s father and uttered words spoken by a vamp in Ekta Kapoor soaps. They annoyed him to the extent that he came to my house.

My friends were standing at a distance of ten meters. Even they could not be of much help. After all who would want to mess with a CBI officer?!? Finally his rant ended with a note of forgiveness. Even he fell for my cute expressions. Then I had to make up a story about how there were bad guys standing outside his society to hoot at Jasmine every day. That’s why I accompanied her.

Hearing this Mr. CBI’s eyes filled with remorse. He shook his hands with me and offered me his visiting card. In fact he asked me to call him if I ever needed help.

As he walked away I felt pretty good about the mishap. Now I am carrying the card of a CBI officer. I felt like challenging the world. But thankfully I stopped to read his name on the card. And then I noticed something.

He didn’t work for the CBI. He worked for the SBI bank. I felt like going back to that man and thrash him brutally. The reason why I quietly listened to him, the reason why my friends didn’t intervene was simply because we didn’t want mess with a CBI officer. My anger knew no bounds. I looked at Jai who sensed what was approaching him. His voice shook as he said “Yaar woh itna chilla ke bol raha tha mujhe CBI sunai diya”. And exactly at that moment Sandy burst into laughter. In the most embarrassing moment of my life Sandy laughed the loudest.

I gave him a stare very similar to the one he gave me last weekend.

Leaving Cricket be-Sahara?

Sahara-India-cricket-shirt_1808543

 

Sahara pulling out of the IPL as well as the Team India contract at the end of the year comes almost as a natural sequence to the fixing scandal and potential threats of more exposures, says Jaideep Ghosh

The Sahara India Pariwar isn’t quite in the best of health financially, that is no secret. On the contrary, what surprises people is the fact that they seem to be able to conjure up immense amounts of money from the proverbial thin air. But that magic trick is obviously not working too well now. Pune Warriors alone cost Sahara Rs 1700 crore. Then we have other assorted commitments – hockey is one, though that is loose change for the Sahara Group.

sahara-invests-$100m-in-force-india-

The other big thing is the Formula One deal, where Vijay Mallya virtually hypnotized Subroto Roy Sahara into dishing out some obscene amount to get a sticker on the Force India car – a barely-visible sticker. Then of course, we have assorted commitments like sponsoring the Bangladesh cricket team.

All of this shows just one thing – having money does not necessarily mean being able to spend it. On the flip side, from the BCCI’s viewpoint, there is only so much arrogance that anyone will take, especially those investing millions of dollars in what is essentially the BCCI’s domain, without any arguments.

subroto roy

Sahara has a record of pouting and walking out, like they did in 2012. That didn’t evidently come as ample lesson for BCCI, who encashed their bank guarantee, almost instantly, the moment the deadline for the contentious franchise fees had ended.

Also, Sahara, already under the microscope, would definitely be in some rush to dissociate from anything that looks shady – which the IPL has become in a span of just two days. So this is a good time to take a hike which serves two purposes.

For one, Sahara managed to jolt BCCI again. The second is that they have wriggled out of what was a disastrous deal for Pune Warriors. That they did it like some small-time retailer reflects the general mindset of the company.

There is a third thing too. God forbid any Pune players are hauled up by any of the state police forces (after all, you can only fix to lose, and who loses more than Pune?); Sahara can say they aren’t in the mix any more. As it is they don’t need more bad publicity.

The sad fallout of it all is that what used to be a sport is fast becoming a joke. Sure, marketing forces will make it a saleable property again soon (read, as soon as the IPL ends and the action shifts to the Champions Trophy), but that doesn’t take away from the fact that cricket by and large is played in a shadow of illegal or not-so-legal activities. And no one can change that in a hurry.

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