Thursday, June 29, 2006

SPE Times

When the Mommy's away (australia - a month) the 'babies' will play. Every evening after work, we go for a little outing. The CCD down the road, Thumsup at Fillers, puchka @ VP ... then I park the car and we walk back from the garage.

It was an ordinary day. Dull, long and slow at work. Dot net training - 3 days long. There's something about the place though. The vast open spaces. The invisible walls, and the vast spread of water in front. The blinding white of the wings of the birds, as they swoop down, to snatch up some unseen prey. And the vague white clouds, hung out in the shaded cobalt blue sky, over the water.

When I looked out through the glass walls of the cafeteria, the richness of the colour, the incredible stillness, the occassional lazy afternoon breeze , the nodding leaves, the little boats ... made an irresistable magnet which wouldnt let me focus on my lunch (which can only be a good thing when ur being starved by ur mommy :( - disgusting boiled veggies - every day). No wonder they keep the blinds drawn in the training rooms.

I was home by eight and was greeted with a bite (last one of a ham & mustard sandwich) at the door. Had to change 3 Times. When you have a little sibling a decade younger, the next generation, so the speak, Its hard to please. Finally, it was the same blue jeans (my one and only) and the same white T Shirt - the set that I had originally said were the only clean things I had - which she had to settle for.

I dont drive a lot in town, so it was excited. Took the short cut to the Park. We'd gone for a Hip Pocket pilgrimmage on Friday last, but the place was so crowded (wrong kind of crowd - fresh new / pseudo cool - out for a drink and a good time - f the music) that we had to quit. So we figured, we'd have better luck on a Wednesday night. We did. It was still full, but less packed than the other night. And they didnt have to play Oh Susannah type numbers either, to keep the mob calm ... though they didnt do Baba o'Reilly either. We walked in to 'where were you ...' and then it went on to 'Open Invitation' & then 'Here I am' ... not brilliant, but beautifully familiar, alive and rocking. I sqatted on the floor - tucked into an obscure corner at S's feet, and in good view of S doing it to the mike. well, nobody does it better.

Before that we dropped in at Roxy. I showed her around in high excitment - reminded me of the time she first came to Pune and I was showing off Ferggie. The verdict: Cool and Grown up. I'm happy.

While walking out of SPE, bumped into "Ma'am" ... who used to be my physics teacher. Of all the teachers I have ever had, she is one of the top 3 coolest, so that was 'nice'. I ofcourse threw away quickly everything in my hands and went instantly blank. Isnt it curious how carefully we preserve the pedestials? Is it a human thing, the need to worship?

After SPE (she wouldnt let me tip the doorman), we went to Sharma's and had ThumsUp and Malai Kabab. Not grub to die for, but its tradition. Have 'always' gone to Sharma's post SPE. It started when we were kids and perpertually broke. We had to chip in all our pocketmoney for cab fare - one way, didnt think of how we'd get back till it was over. It was pretty early, in the morning. chatts, juls, addy and me. We hitched a ride back from some people leaving from Tantra. They were a little strange (tantra-cool) but nice. They stopped at Sharma's on the way and we've done it ever since. After SPE, you stop at Sharma's, sqat on the edge of the pavement and stuff urself with kebabs and chai.

The long arm of B.C road, a name I have always loved, stretched out in front and behind. Since I was only in Cal for winter, and since we usually went that way at night, my memories of this road are painted in as a long black line snaking out forever. Orange flamed fires lit by the roadside. Lined with tree's that looked old - so much older - than me .... isnt that a comforting feeling? I wonder why?

Cal's has changed. Everytime I came back I heard people crib about that. They(we) used to come back, starving and hugry, from Blore and Pune and other 'faraway' places, and everytime what they ran back to had run out a little more. Will Cal become like everywhere else with time and progress? Is that such a bad thing? I dunno. Could never figure out. Bad for me and you, yes. But for her?

It's late by the time we get back home. As usual, I want to crash. As usual, she wants me to look at a new post she wrote. As usual, I cant bear to say no to my favourite miniperson/monster. As usual, I'm blown away. When did that little pink faced, squealing thing with curling ringlets like a piglets tail, grow into this 'person'! I love the way she writes ...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Mensa Kolkata - please apply

This is where I use the blogsphere to push non-blog matters.

As some of you may know, Mensa, the high-IQ society, has a chapter in
Kolkata. Mensa Kolkata has been around for many years, but has become
active only very recently, in 2000. Since 2000, we have increased our
membership to over 300, which puts us behind Pune and Mumbai in terms
of total membership.

Mensa increased its membership through a number of membership drives.
Initially, we had help from our contacts in various newspapers - TOI
and The Statesman did stories that led to a huge increase in
applications. Later, efforts by individual members brought in large
groups from JU, BE College and IIM-Calcutta.

Our current problem is twofold - firstly, membership has levelled off.
Secondly, Mensa Kolkata has a unique problem because the majority of
our members are Isolted (live in other cities). Also, since almost all
applicants are students, this problem is likely to continue. Since a
number of these students are from IIM, they are rarely able to attend
meetings, and so, remain inactive.

So, right now, Mensa needs more members. Also, we are trying to
convince people above the age of 30 to join as this demographic is
less likely to move away from the city. Unfortunately, older people
are hesitant to give the test, as not getting through can hurt their
reputation - a problem that younger people do not have.

Right now Mensa's activities consist of the monthly meeting at the
Rashbehari Avenue home of our Chapter Head and veteran Mensan, Mr.
Amit Das. These involve adda sessions on pre-decided topics. Sometimes
members with specialised interests give a little talk. Visiting
Mensans from other countries also drop by occasionally, to answer
questions about their home countries.

Its only when the number of active members crosses a critical value
that Mensa Kolkata will be able to kick its activities into gear. A
number of SIG's (Special Interest Groups) are lying dormant because of
insufficient interest. A larger membership will also allow us to hold
activity-specific meetings. Mumbai Mensa, for example, has a trekking
SIG which organises monthly trips. Pune Mensa has a tribal outreach
programme. But such things need manpower, which we lack right now.

How do you get into Mensa? You send an email to Mr. Das at He gives you a test for which you pay Rs 300. If
you make it, you get your membership packet, and can start attending

Finally, what are the advantages of joining Mensa? Well, there's the
meetings with other people who, like you, are more intelligent than
98% of the world. Then, there are benefits like SIGHT, which allow you
to avail of the hospitality of Mensans in other countries, when you
visit. Finally, it looks good on your CV, if you're into that sort of

So, I'm sending out a request. Bloggers of Calcutta - please apply. If
you're above 30, then most definitely do apply. If not, apply anyway,
but do apply. We need you.