Sunday, 27 July 2014

Mixed Bag of 'Black' Wishes!

      'Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeechh ......!!! ' The tyres of the sedan fought with the metalled surface of the road to come to a halt! My pesky next-door auntie at the wheel downed the glass window , and started shouting , " many times would this black devil ruin my morning ?? How many times will i give you the final warning ? I'm gonna call the police next ! "
          I had just heard her set out for office , and urged my jet black cat to cross the road in front of our home! This was my own inimitable way of gaining revenge on the lady , who was full of haughtiness , and had abused my Mom the previous evening for no real fault of hers ! And this wasn't the first time that she had picked a fight with us deliberately, neither was it the first time that my cat was employed to cross the road at the most convenient moment: this was my regular custom to anger the wretched woman, who i knew was full of superstition , and hence , would be greatly irritated when the feline harmlessly crossed her path, as she could not fathom enough courage to drive away non-challantly! She would stand there till another car had got past her,believing that it took away the curse of the cat, absolving her of impending misfortune.
       I am a crusader against all existing superstitions in the society and my cat was only helping me in my cause by letting me punish the lady ! 
image courtesy: Google
Feeling pleased with myself as the lady wouldn't budge till a passing car bailed her out, I was bracing for some more expletives from her, when suddenly , I got jerked out of bed by Mom black Cat vanished with a *poof* and all I was left with was terrible memories from last night when our neighbour had vented fury against us! This Black cat was on my wishlist for such a long time , as my means of troubling my neighbour, but Mom would not allow any pet in the house. So I have continued having dreams of this coveted pet , an emblem of superstitious beliefs across the country.....but I was still far from getting my hands on one!

        Coming down into the drawing room , I was still grumpy . Once again, our prestige had taken a beating the previous night, but I couldn't really do anything. I casually picked up the newspaper and started scouring the headlines. 
The eyes got stuck on one ," Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 search enters second month"! 
What the hell was happening with the world ? 
Half the world were searching the oceans for this long, yet they failed to trace even the smallest debris from the plane? 
These transponders that the US Army provided couldn't pick up the pings from the Black Box ?
The Black Box.....only if I had access to it, it could have revealed so much to the world . Aviation safety could've been overhauled forever , so that no such mishaps would recur . Thousands of questions could be answered , families of hundreds of innocent fliers could've found solace in the fact that at least they knew what happened to their loved ones.
I clutched my hands in frustration. I needed that Black Box.....anyhow ! I needed to tell the world what had actually happened to the ill-fated plane. I was obliged to relieve so many people from so many doubts. I wanted to clear the air of suspicion. I needed that Black box of MH370!

  "Titas , get up , and sit with your books ! ", Mom was instructing from the kitchen ! Preparations for my Post Graduate examinations were on , and apart from the days I go out to work ,at all other times, I'm in a love-hate relationship with books ! I trudged up to my study , opened one of the humongous Multiple Choice Question laden books , and felt I couldn't concentrate. "MAAA", I shouted , "make me some Black coffee ....and do make it strong"! The addiction to caffeine , as a concentration booster, was intense from my hostel days ! 
image courtesy: Google
   In a few moments, there was the sound of brisk footsteps, and Mom's angry face appeared at the door, "Titas Kar, if you think you can order me according to your whims from early morning, you are mistaken . You are old enough , get up and help yourself! " ....and she stormed off! 

     As I walked to heat the water and gathered the coffee packet , my heart demanded of my brain : 'Why wasn't there a perpetual supply of ready made simmering Black coffee in my room? Why??'
 I need it all the time , and i hate to go and make it myself ! But it is fuel for my brains.
Oh, how I would love to have a cauldron of Black Coffee in stock , that would meet my incessant demand of the beverage!


Stills from Baadshah , where SRK
gets to try out the see-through
                                                                                                                                                                                       After a few hours of nerve wracking solving of Multiple Choice Questions , it was time for lunch, and I sat down in front of the TV for some relaxation. One of the movie channels was showing Baadshah , the 90s comedy thriller starring SRK. Despite having watched it numerous times, I got hooked onto it yet again. As Baadshah the private detective, mistakenly got hold of some spy gadgets, he got this special Black Glasses that could see through everyone's clothes , to check whether anybody was hiding any weapon underneath . Of course these dark glasses enabled him to have a look at the subjects in nothing but their birthday robes!!!! 
Ha ha! This was some interesting stuff! And the devil in my brain wanted Baadshah's Black Glasses . It's fascinating , how human mind doesn't take time to switch over to naughty ideas , and in a flash , I was smirking wickedly , thinking about the possible consequences of being armed with glasses that could see through clothing !!

  It was late evening when my next door auntie was driving back home into her garage . I was staring out of the window . The wounds of last night were still fresh, and seeing her, came rushing back once more. But I helplessly thought , how I was not in a position to teach her a lesson . As her swanky sedan smoothly drove up her driveway , I looked up at the sky at the descending darkness . Someday, I would put an end to her haughtiness , I thought to myself . She was rich , but I'd make sure I rub it into her ego by parking my own car in front of her gates.
image courtesy: Google
But it needed to be a big one . A huge one.
It needed to be a black Limousine ....yes, a huge Black Limo would be my ultimate dream vehicle . There would be ample space inside for a minibar . I would sit inside , revelling in the glory of my regal car . 

I went back to study. There was work to be done. Lots of way to go. In a day's thoughts, i had managed to draw up a mixed bag of Five things on my black wishlist.

What?? The Black Pentad !!

Black is intriguing.
Black is intense.
Black is mysterious.
Black hides secrets.
      Here, i enumerate the five things that top my Black wishlist :

Eternal black hair:  parents say , when I was six months old, they had discovered a white hair strand on my head! When I came to know of it,it had scared the daylights out of me! To me, white hair was synonymous with old age & I was fearful: what if I grew old quickly? What if my hair greyed in my teens? No girl would date an 'uncle', right?  From then, I had been obsessed with black hair & given a choice, I would pray that I continue having the mop of black hair on my scalp for my lifetime!! Whenever I comb , I suspiciously scour the strands for silvery streaks & alarmingly enough, have found out 3-4 such mortifying samples , now that I've crossed the quarter of a century. But I sincerely hope that those are a few aberrations. They say, to have salt & pepper hair is like displaying you're matured enough , but hey thanks! I'd much rather appear immature , than displaying the silvery streaks on my head! And hence, black hair tops my priority list of my Black Wish list !!

                                                what i wish      and        what I dread 

Black magic : Many a time I have wished that I could slam some of my seniors at work, who had vented their frustrations out on us juniors. They pick out the slightest of errors in our work, bash us publicly without reason, and leave us with more work to do. Even though patience levels are stretched to the brim,etiquette and sense of hierarchy make sure that my inner rebel is restrained,so that i don't get higher sanctions for questioning the Boss. But the fact that the seniors misuse their superior status by forcing us to work extra , while they relax , makes me crave that there was some way i could punish them secretly, without them knowing about it ! 
         At such times, I've seriously wanted that to be an expert at Black Magic , and punish those notorious bosses from far away , by making Voodoo Dolls in their name & crucifying them! I'd be temporarily controlling their activities , but they won't be able to point their fingers on me for this ordeal !!
   Whilst I would take satisfaction in finally getting justice, they'd be horrified , and would certainly atone for all their wrongdoings on their juniors ! So, learning Black Magic is definitely on my wishlist!

Voodoo Doll ....practicing of Black magic. (Image Courtesy : maasulekhadevi)

Black Beauty :  Remember the black horse in Anna Sewell's novel from the Victorian era , whose story, told in an autobiographical manner, brought a revolution in the treatment of horses globally?? Yes, Black Beauty! I long to have her as a pet , and she'd be my agile friend , taking me on my weekend escapades on the farmhouse in the countryside. People would stare in awe as the sunlight would reflect off her glistening black skin , and we'd race the wind to ride away to the horizon ! Her strong hooves beating down on the ground would be music to my ears. As we'd raise a storm of dust beneath us , sitting on her back, I'd cherish the regal feeling of a knight from the medieval age . She'd be my friend, and I'd refrain from using any of the painful methods that horse-riders use on their horses . Under my guidance and care, she'd become powerfully built, and her speed , strength and agility will become renowned! 

image courtesy: glogster

Image Courtesy: usborne

Black Tuxedo:  As the saying goes, clothes indeed maketh a man! But a gent in a cavalier black tuxedo maketh an epoch-defining fashion statement! An imperial Black Tuxedo in my wardrobe would be heavy artillery, designed to create mass jaw-drops at an evening dinner party , when I turn up in it ,looking 'prim & propah' , with a black bow tie to hilt! The tailored black Tuxedo will certainly have the potential to propel me into the limelight and be the cynosure of all eyes! And as soon as I tick the box of this fourth item on my Black wishlist......Daniel Craig , you better watch out! You might just make way for me to be cast as the next James Bond!! It would be me as 007 in my classy dinner jacket , walking upto the bartender, asking for a Vodka Martini Shaken not Stirred at a Casino , before moving onto a table of poker and drawing the attention of the inevitable sultry Bond girl stationed there! 
the single-breasted black tuxedo
(image courtesy : finetuxedos)

Traversing a Black Hole: Black holes had started fascinating me , in high school, when I had gotten into physics and science fiction . A huge black coloured orifice in the midst of space that sucks in we teens used to know it. 
Oh Wait in everything ?? Even light?? 
What happens next??
Where do the sucked in matter go??
Do they go in through the Black hole and come out through something called a 'Worm Hole' in a parallel universe ??
Intriguing story! 
There originated my wish to traverse a black hole and discover what lay on the other side of this dark tunnel! We got to know, in physics terms , that anything going into a black hole gets infinitely stretched! Fine enough, I'd only put my head and torso inside the Black Hole, keeping my feet firmly fixed on this universe. Thus, I'd get my trunk elongated , crane my neck , and poke out my head on the other side to see how the parallel universe looks! It's a fair enough idea , I guess , to shed some light on the darkest mystery in the universe....that of the black hole! So , if anybody can help me hitch a ride onto the nearest black hole, I'd be very grateful! 

Artist's rendition of a Black Hole ( Image courtesy: Wikipedia)

My rendition of what it must be like to travel through a Black Hole
and come out into a parallel universe thorugh a 'worm hole' !!

Friday, 25 July 2014

The PathoZenalyser

         Being a huge fan of James Bond from my teenage, it's only logical that I'd be drawn towards gadgets. If I had tried to get a patent of all the new inventions that I used to doodle in the back pages of my exercise books during idle hours, it would have broken all records by now. My innovations ranged from adding different shapes to nail cutters to having various modifications in submarines & helicopters. I imagined myself as a Leonardo da Vinci of modern times.Accordingly, I've been a smartphone lover. From the earliest gigantic keypad phones that could be used as weapons of self defence , to the sleekest smart phones today, I've used all. Whenever I got a new phone, I tried to imagine how much more I could get out of it. 

Somehow,I didn't become an engineer , but I've ended up being a doctor. But my love for gadgets has added a new dimension to my thought process. Nowadays ,I try to imagine how I can marry technology & human physiology ,so that medicine can progress quickly , aided by this union.
There are already apps in smartphones that help doctors calculate certain body parameters easily . but what if smart phones had the hardware to help the cause??

The Asus Zenphone is one such state-of-the-art beauty that comes with goodies loaded to the brim . The super touchscreen is a treat to the eyes, and as it claims, it lets us feel what others can't feel! The camera has the ability to absorb 400% more light, so it has the eyes to see what others can't see. To top it all, its Intel® Atom™ Processor with Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology gets up to four threads running at once.....and hence it's aptly said it can do what others can't do...... It's SUPER FAST!

Marvellous ! 

These specs thus can add up to give me a spectacular new gadget , the PathoZenalyser, to examine body fluids , and act as an Auto-analyser !! Should I explain further ??

Let's say, I'm in the hospital wards , and I need to test a blood/saliva/any other body fluid sample urgently. Not everyone is blessed to have swanky labs operating 24x7 at their hospitals. It's for them that my envisioned Super powered Zenphone comes as a saviour! 

I can place a drop of blood on the screen of the phone, and it's sensors will spring to life, dissecting the components of the fluid , calculating the specific gravity,pH , etc. Since the screen allows a gloved hand to use it, it will be perfect for me to operate wearing a glove! Aided by the sensors beneath the screen that'll send out rays of light, and do spectral analysis of the sample, I should be able to get the blood cell counts , and the quantities of various biochemical & pathological parameters like enzymes in no time, .....that is, the job of a  laboratory auto analyser! 

My Incredible ZenPhone : The PathoZenalyser

If there are any aberrant samples which the phone thinks is suggestive of an uncommon disease that it cannot identify at once, it will send a photo of its analysed sample to the databases online , to search for matching samples and come up with a list of suggestions for the clinician to look at . 

Moreover, I can use the camera as a microscope. I can take a smear from a patient's wound, use the Zenphone's extraordinary camera, which takes in 400% more light than others, to click a photo of the swab. I should be able to get a vivid detail of the image (at least upto a 40X power Light microscope), and see the micro-organisms (bacteria/fungus) present , thereby, helping me a great deal in the initial choice of medications . 

A hand-held Mini X-ray machine

The camera should also be able to do a preliminary hand held low-grade X-Ray , thus guiding me in the assessment of whether there is any fracture ! 

Thus, my Asus Zenphone would become the super-phone that every doctor in the country would crave for . Those who work at hospitals with poor infrastructure would treat it as a Godsend , as it would help them take decisions more confidently . The fast actions of the phone would save a lot of time , as well as saving the patient's harassments in running from one lab to another at odd times of the night. The Zenphone will not be the definitive replacement for Pathology laboratories,because no machine can ever substitute human intelligence or skill, but in the short term , will be beneficial in ensuring better treatment schedules for patients! 

Monday, 21 July 2014

They Zest up my Life

                 Born as human beings, we're entitled to the life-long certificate for being dynamic. The earliest notifications of our zeal to be energetic are manifested in the kicking around of a foetus within the mother's womb, which signifies the well being of the foetus . Lack of movements is worrisome, as it signifies that the little one might not have the energy to thrive. Hence, from the very first stages of life, we try to express our willingness to be active. Each one of us are bundles of energy, eager to assert our influence around,searching for things that add ZEST to our lives. The day this search ends is the day we breathe our last, on the surface of earth. 
                        Finding excitement & deriving happiness from different sources is subjective to each individual . I'm privileged in this regard that I've been involved in a myriad of activities & gained an overwhelming amount of experiences in the quarter of a century that I've been alive. Few of them are forgettable, but most of them are sources for infinite joy! Some of them infuse happiness in me and I get a new zest in life every time I experience them .

Taking a closer look at the sky
     It was a night of a power cut in Kolkata some twenty years back when Dad had pointed at the sky to show me a cluster of stars & asked me whether I could imagine them to be a man, wearing a glittering belt in his waist, holding a shield in his hand. As the imaginative child in me drew a mental picture of Orion, he was filled with joy, that such a figure could exist up above. Dad literally sowed the seeds of a lifetime of delight when he told me, " See this one son?! There are numerous other such structures spread all over the sky.... If you make searching for them your hobby, you'll be amazed, as the sky is a treasure trove of wonders!" ......and I found out about Astronomy and sky watching. I would spend night after night on the roof, with a torch in one hand & a star chart in the other, gazing at the stars, deciphering constellations. I would master the handling of telescope from the very beginning. As the years went by, sky watching became my most favourite hobby, as I came to know more about the infinite universe all around us. Hunting for faint objects millions of light years away on chilly winter nights , when people were sleeping away under quilts, was my regular nocturnal activity. My guides at Astronomy camps taught me how every object in this world originated in the sky & made me realise , that in this vast expanse of stars, galaxies, comets, pulsars , quasars & black holes, we're almost nothing. Staring at the Sky and thinking about the infinite, instilled in me humility,and ignited the passion to know more . There hasn't been a single night of clear skies, when I didn't looked up to take a note of the celestial bodies . The SKY became my first love, and searching for the deep secrets she kept fueled my zestful drive in finding out more about them! 

Hunting for hidden treasures 
                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's correctly said , music transcends the barrier of words. The unofficial universal language of the world made its way to my brain through my Dad's singing of lullabies. He scripted my vocal expertise, by encouraging me to sing nursery rhymes from the age of two years and recording them in tape recorder casettes, when I uttered broken syllables. As music was in the family, I took to it like a fish takes to water & enjoyed it immensely. 
Singing on stage
Everything fell in place & the world seemed to be in harmony, when my vocal chords resonated to create the perfect pitch & strike that perfect note.Performing on stage was exhilarating , as the adrenaline surge on seeing a sea of heads swaying to the tunes & breaking into applause on fine performances gave me tremendous highs! Music became a companion , whom I would fall back on irrespective of my mood. I know not how I break into a hum,subconsciously every time i'm not doing something, and it doesn't matter whether I'm happy or sad .  MUSIC certainly added another dimension to my life & enabled me to recharge , when my inner batteries were down.


Ronaldo grimacing after his horrific knee injuries,
and being carried off on a stretcher 

A page from my World Cup Scrapbook 
  There are sportsmen , there are superheroes, then there is Ronaldo. Brazil's 'Il Fenomeno' was a prodigy no doubt , but he still needed to conquer barriers of pain & physical hardships , to ensure he got remembered as one of the very best ever. Twice being injured at a very crucial point on the knee,and being on the verge of losing the ability to walk properly,Ronaldo came back almost from the dead , to win the World Cup for Brazil in 2002, despite having no match practice at all. Recuperating from injury and recovering is one thing.......but walking straight into a war , after a long lay off , to emerge as the best player at the summit clash of all countries is definitely stuff of folklore. When I face personal battles, and the sense of the occasion seem to get the better of me, I envision a crutch wielding Ronaldo training hard, and then powering ahead with the ball to score, and sure enough, there is a renewed zest in me to give it another try. He was the role model, whom i looked up to for inspiration, when i needed it most to zest up my efforts and not give up. Being a hero of my adolescence , RONALDO  had moulded my mind when it was naive, and strengthened my resolve fight on with determination, just as he had done  to beat them all.                                         

There's the champion ,the world-beater, who soared like a Phoenix,
from the ashes of consecutive knee surgeries,
gracing my scrapbook of 2002

                      Working at a government hospital in Kolkata gives me the scope to treat a huge number of patients every week. Sometimes, ailments require patients to have a prolonged stay at the hospital, many of whom are barely educated. Despite not being related to me, and inspite of being scolded by me time & again for not following my instructions, I can sense the warmth of the patients , on seeing me, when I go for my rounds every morning . As a patient recovers gradually from some morbid condition, there's this satisfaction drive that starts working in full swing inside me , which culminates at its highest point with the patient's grateful thanking of me at the time of discharge . As he holds my hand to express his gratitude , I see the earnestness in his eyes, and a feeling of wellness spreads rapidly in my system. Yes, there are times , when despite our best efforts, we fail to revive our patients, but this THANKING OF MY PATIENTS ensures that there's a zest to deliver even when the stakes are higher the next time , and I renew my vow to serve them better .
                                  I was mischievous as a school boy, so my Mum had to keep a watch on my activities , whenever she made me sit for my studies . Time and again , she'd come out of the kitchen to peep at the door and check on me , whether I was studying or not. The little devil in me soon singled out the subtle clinking of Mum's bangles on her hands when she moved around , and so , my ears gradually became trained to pick up the faintest of those metallic sounds whenever she moved . This helped me to escape scoldings, whenever I read story books hid in my school exercise copies , or drew doodles on the backpages & rapidly changed pages on hearing her approach !! But this sound also became one of my most favourite sounds , as it signified the special bond that I had with mum. At my tuitions, towards the end of classes , I could always make out when my mother had arrived , by that unique tinkling sound , that made its way to me over & above the presence of several other guardians . Now that I've grown older, I no longer require this auditory clue to dupe mum, but everytime i hear it,it fills me with a sense of fulfilment , that I have the one person with me , always , who's supportive of me, and who's eager to help me out in any situation. I have never mentioned about this unique sound of my mum's bangles to her , that only i can recognise from afar, because i felt it's some divine connection , that I have, with someone close to being a Goddess to me ! This CLINKING OF MY MUM'S BANGLES reassures me , that everything is fine with the house , because Mum's there: fit, active & full of life, and helps in my zest to become a better son to her.

     So these are the five things and people that Zest up my life ! 

Friday, 4 July 2014


 is a splendid new portal,which has wholeheartedly attempted bringing all car connoisseurs of India under a common roof so that  there’s free mixing of like-minded people from across the country on the web. The trendy portal is a must visit for those who fantasize about cars all the time and believe that they can devote a lifetime talking about cars.

CarConnect organizes all the information in a compact manner regarding a motorist's needs and serves it up to you in a manner which can help even the most confused of souls . There is a city based selection system, with which you can connect with fellow automobile lovers from around the country! It’s the brainchild of a novel concept, so that everyone can pick each others' brains , and build up a huge database of car-based information.

You need to join in through Facebook into this portal, and immediately , you are transported into a world , where automobile is the uniting force!! The portal is divided into 'car experiences ' and 'long drive' sections, that are each superimposed on a city-based structure, that adds to the charm of the website.

I found real joy in going through the road trip experiences that highly skilled motorists across the nation have shared.

The city wise classification also gives me the option to have a look at the varied preferences of car lovers in different parts of the country.

To drive up the quality of content shared on car connect, there's this system of awarding badges to the most active users. This infuses a competitive spirit amongst users of the portal. Top badge holders have a wealth of experience which they have generously shared with others . There's an array of impressive looking badges to collect as one climbs up the leaderboard , and sure enough, the toppers have the attention of the entire web-world, so it’s quite a prestigious post to aim for!!

Another magical touch is the ‘compare cars’ section, that makes it the simplest possible way to check out the features in cars and comparing them with their peers in the market. 

Car connect also gives us the chance to have a closer peek into what is going on in the automobile world and what to expect from the ever evolving industry in the foreseeable future.The cutthroat competition from rival players has driven up the levels of engineering & technological excellence like never before, so innovation in the car arena are coming in thick & fast! CarConnect educates us in what lies ahead!

Going through the site, i feel that the get-up can be overhauled a little, by bringing in fancy fonts, and a dash of colours, but i also know, that the builders of the site probably wanted to keep it as clutter-free as possible! But there’s always scope for improvement in the appearance of the site!

     The other minor glitch that i can think of is ,having Facebook as the only means of getting to join carconnect. It isn't the best option in my opinion, and i feel the team can do better , by adding other means to join the website, so that non-facebook users too can get to enjoy this whole new ‘car-site’ !! Keep up the good work folks, and may you make the website even more organised.