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Where will you be twenty years from now?

A taste of Mumbai
It struck me the other day that it has been about twenty years since the time I took my first steps, albeit unwittingly, towards moving into Mumbai.
I had been recruited by a market research agency in Kolkata from campus back then. I joined my new office once the MBA course was over. We were then sent to Mumbai for a training programme in August 1997. Once the course was over, my colleagues from Kolkata returned home. I was slated to stay back for a 2 month training programme in Mumbai which then stretched on for close to 6 months. I was put up at a PG in Bandra by my office then.
Such  a long journey
This was the first time that I was living away from home. All I wanted to do then was to get back to Kolkata as soon as I could. Go back and build a successful career in market research hopefully. Move to an apartment in a posher part of Kolkata than where we lived. At Ballygunge for example. 
I thought it would be cool one day have a club membership given to me by offic…
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Queue-spreading because its spelling is the least of our problem with queues

Scene 1:

I had gone to pay local taxes at a government office in Bandra a few days back.

I was directed to a table where there was no-one else waiting. I went up to the officer at the desk and submitted our papers. He keyed in the details in to his computer. The results flashed immediately. I gave our cheque, so far so good.

Then the officer pointed out that the cheque was Rs 12 (twelve) more than what was due. We looked at each other and tried to figure out what has to be done. Suddenly an elderly corpulent gentleman came and sidled up and stood beside me. I waited a for a couple of seconds. I thought he might have a question for the officer. I looked at the encroacher. He smiled at me. There was no-one behind me and yet he stood beside me.

I looked at him and said, 'do you mind standing behind me? We are discussing something here.' He smiled at me and said, 'no problem, I will wait.'

I drew my breath and said, 'can you please stand in the queue while we finish.&…

Reaching out to the future for answers

Yesterday I came out of a meeting about a new media vehicle which is yet to establish itself in India. 
The possibilities sounded interesting though. The owner of the company told me about the growth of this media in the US. I listened to his reasons for believing that it has potential in India too. The reasoning sounded interesting. 
I thought about our chat after I went home. I was keen to know more about this medium. 
Then I happened to go on Instagram then and suddenly saw a live story from my cousin there. She has just graduating from the NYU in New York. She often puts up examples of her design work on Instagram. That's when I remembered that media studies were part of the seemingly complex course that she had done. By 'complex', I mean a course that seemed more fluid than the Sociology or Literature or Physics or Geology Hons of my time in college in Kolkata.
I suddenly got the the idea to reach out to her to know more about what we had discussed in the meeting tha…

Netflix with Teddy

My mom in law comes to visit us on weekends. Sometimes we watch TV together at dinner time. 
This is what follows:
1. Vir Das: 
Studied silence from the three of us. Hassan Minhaj's act was more parent friendly IMO. 
Teddy to K the next morning: 'Do you know the name of the writers? They are very good'
2. Crown, episode 1
Teddy at the end: 'Prince Philip toh useless nikhlooj'
PS Parsis do take the affairs of the Royal Family to heart
3. War Machine
At the start of a tense counterinsurgency operation, Teddy: 
'L&T has got the contract to rebuild Afghanistan'
Even Brad Pitt looked startled!
Appendix: We'd started it all with Bourdain's No Reservation which is the least blush worthy of the lot. 
Teddy's response halfway through the show: 
No programme on TV today? I am going to sleep then!

A call for pre-paid cab operators at Mumbai airport to accept cards. Please pitch in

The Mumbai police has given an address where we can write in requesting for card payments and mobile wallet payments at the airport pre-paid cab counter.
I just wrote in. Request you all to do so too and share this. We can at least try
The ID to write in is :
This is the text of my mail:
My name is Kalyan Karmakar. I am a food and travel writer based in Mumbai and am a frequent traveller who uses the airports at Mumbai very often. 
I recently flew into T2 from Hong Kong via Kolkata. I didn't have cash on me as I had left country before the demonetisation drive.
I wanted to use a card to book a pre-paid cab at the airport but couldn't as they don't accept cards. I finally took a Meru and requested my wife to pay when I reached home. Luckily I had 100 Rs to Pay the convenience fee.
My request to you is that you should ask the pre-paid taxi counter to accept cards and mobile wallets such as paytm to help us citizens make the Prime Minister's demonetis…

Who are the demons of India's demonitisation?

I rarely comment on social or political issues as I prefer not to speak about things I am not fully aware of.
The current demonisation issue has led to lot of strident comments on social media from both of sides of the fence and stands are usually extreme rather than nuanced.
So I decided to write a post on this on Facebook. Sitting at a place which doesn't accept cards and where I had to depend on my wife to buy my breakfast.
Here's what I wrote:
I'd been out of the country when this demonitisation thing happened. Didn't have cash on me but was not affected much personally at the beginning.
I couldn't buy fish for my granny from local markets when I reached Calcutta as I didn't have cash and had no time to go to a super market. It was not critical. 
I had to intervene on her behalf to make a payment to the worker clearing the garbage at her place. Neither of us had non 500 Rs notes to give him and being a daily labourer, he couldn't take a day off work to exchange…

Philosophising is fine but action is what matters

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it."We were introduced to this quote from Karl Marx by a gentleman named Samit Kar who taught us Marxism in Presidency College. We had a paper on Marxism as a part of our Sociology course designed by the Calcutta University in the mid 1990s. I was not into Marxism, which seemed so anachronistic in the post Berlin Wall fall days, and wasn't too keen on these classes.
However there was no forgetting this line of Marx as Professor Kar would keep repeating it. He was so fond of this line that a friend of mine and I wondered if this is what he told his wife the night he had got married!  I must mention that prof Kar had graciously invited all of us from class to his wedding at a place called Shinghi Park and it was a happy evening. Whether his favourite Marxist quote was a part of what was discussed later that night was not something that we ever found out.

From what I remember, and…