Calcutta Culture Glossary – Issue 9.0
[No city is worth a city unless it has her encyclopaedists, illustrators, strange and secret lovers – irregular sons and non-regular daughters. A true city should also have her fair share of dwellers those could be anywhere but consciously made the city their home. Ethereal Minstrels in one way – they are also the pilgrims of the city.
I am also an adopted son of this city. One dark night in East Calcutta, I read Buddhadev Basu’s essay as why he chose to make Calcutta his home. This had been resonating. He told in his Bengali essay, as why he chose Calcutta – an antithesis of everything he prefers – (perhaps) the pull of the eternal spirit of the city – শহরের চিরন্তন আত্বা… I am yet to find a better description for my own engagement with this city.
Marks No Bar: Recently, me and one of my ex-colleagues went to a mela – Education Fair in Calcutta. Almost all private management, engineering, vocational institutes had a ‘stall’ there – in the Indoor Stadium.
One sign caught my attention and it was written in a stall: MARKS NO BAR. We, in Bengal had so far heard and got amused by the matrimonial announcement: Caste No Bar but this was really novel: Marks No bar. This can be translated like this
Even you have a cerebral and mental make up of that a troglodyte, you can become what you want to be, just if you join our institute (and pay some hefty cash).
Many communities and castes in India, both in North and South have a dark secret which we don’t share while we talk in most solemn manner our great spiritual and other tradition: the system of dowry. Many of our young men in our vaunted IT cities don’t mind the unsettling matter of ‘willing suspension of choice’ while choosing a wife as soon as the monies transfer hands. Many of our young women in latest designer clothes also find this quite natural.
Marks No Bar: Porting the great Indian secret of commisseration into the arena of job and career-building from the arena of marriage alliances.
While roaming in the corridors, in front of one stall, I found one hapless Bengali youth (a potential candidate) was barraged with questions by a MBA-type fellow (with tie and a very formal dress) and after every senence, the MBA-type-fellow asks(in English) : Tell me Now ! The unfortunate fellow was just looking around and while his sight caught my eye, I just told my friend: Is it a counselling or an interrogation? The ‘interrogator’ heard me and came menacingly:’ What, what did you say?’. I know how to deal with such creatures in this land and I said, very politely: ‘the room is so cool and so many beautiful looking women around’. He was taken aback and as he turned to continue his interrogation: the chaired-victim was nowhere to be seen.
As I was coming out, my friend summed up: You can open a hotel management school right now. How? ‘Put a chair and a table in your drawing room – That’s reception and your kitchen is where chef will be trained. You and your wife can easily manage the school. ‘
‘But I know nothing about hotel business.’ I said
‘So what, remember: Marks no bar’. Said he.
I started walking in profound understanding.
The Mark of the Beast: In Judeo-Chirstian tradition, there is a consistent reference of Satan (or anti-Chirst) with its visible, distinguishing mark and that was called The Mark of the Beast. I am going to narrate how I in Calcutta-East I discovered this whole thing can be seen in a different, normal and matter-of-fact way.
I need to travel from a junction where many young people take their buses, autos to go to sector V – the IT hub and axis of Bengal. I do not find almost without exception, all of these young little things having their company ID hanging where no one has asked them to, nor are they inside any office. I was trying to answer myself like this:
This ID-chord at the other end must be drilled into the medulla obluganta – behind the skull and hence it cannot be taken off. If you change company, then, one surgery to pull out the old and another to insert the new. Too many ‘job-hopping’ in this case can cause partial or full lobotomization.
Due to the nature of work inside these IT Factories, one may forget one’s identity completely, like Malabika becoming Melaney or Tutul becoming Tutsie. The ID card with its different logo and name reminds one constantly what one’s IDENTIFICATION is.
Like some animals use feremones or other kinds of smell to attract partners, these are visible tokens – a kind of system where potential mates are attracted. I say this because most of the women are fertile women in early or late twenties and so are men. Hence this provides a kind of invisible signalling based on hierarchy. Like IBM à TCS /Wipro à Tata Tele… (Disclaimer: This is an arbitary match by me..)
This is a way to show brand loyalty which some Consultant/MBA, most likely from the Anglo-Saxon world has recently advised the Indian subsidiary. The logic is impeccable : If 50% of Indian youth employee wear the ID cards in public, the brand visibility is equivalnt of covering whole Autralian landmass by billboards
To fight somnolesence and morning sickness.
I am yet to get an answer. However, I hear that Mr. Nilkeni of Infosys has promised the Indian Sarkar that he would soon make the ID for all Indians and I believe him. But Infosys is no low-tech company. Given the responsibility – a Tax-Payer’s Mandate to see-through the Project, soon Indians may like to wear the ID – smart ID – RFID inside their skin – to be read by a smart microwave reader.
I doubt whether these young little things would find it anyway troublesome to wear a non-invasive RFID – bio-metric chip – a bar-coded personality.
Isn’t it wonderful? Isn’t it great that at least a Grand Indian Project will be seen through by a Grand Indian Company? At least this time, we may not need Anglo-Saxon help.
It really is. And that is the greatest Concern. The man has the credential and the ability to see the Job through.
But I go back to my Bible and remember, how would I feel like while I see one of my RFID-ed co-passangers in an auto has a barcode in his forearm with the ID: DV1L 666
‘This is Not Heathrow’: The same friend whom I mentioned was my companion in a visit to IIT-Kharagpur (This will need a book to detail this The Adventure of Occult Management) for few days after the previous incident. It so happened that I took a bag with wheels and was finding it quite difficult to roll over the roads inside the campus.
My friend while looking at my discomfiture inside his alma-mater, told me, very sharply: This is not Heathrow.
Yes, I know but sometimes, a situation, a word very much known or apparent can charm you.
The Young Girl in the Bi-Cycle: Almost everyday, I see a young girl in a very nice-looking bi-cycle in the area where I commute. She must be between 16-17 years old but has the dignity of a lady. I had seen her in yellow, blue, sage green and crimson red dresses and she looked equally commanding in all these colours with her impeccably clean bi-cycle. She has an imperious look and reminded me of Estella of The Great Expectations by Dickens. One blessed morning, as I was crossing the KS Canal from the Saltlake side, a balding, middle-aged man as I am, I gave her way to pass with her trusted companion – the bi-cycle. She looked at me and gave a gracious smile.
I became Pip and the last few immortal lines automatically sounded inside: Her indescribable freshness and radiance is gone but a mellow sweetness remained….
This lady, I pray will meet her Great Expectations.
Dala Arcade: One of the patron deities, albeit quite recent, is the ভবতারিণী of Dakshineswar. However, the devotee gets a unique experience while one enters; nay appraoches an Arcade called Dala Arcade where you can buy the offerings. The Dala Arcade greets you with a Dopplerian buzz that starts from the ruffled sound as that of hundred bees (example: inside Coffee House, College Street) in the honey-comb, then some un-intelligible drone (as that of old airplanes) and within ten feet way, you can make out what this is all really about: The Sales Call.
I relish this sound everytime and this gives me proof of the line from this English poet: The sounding passion haunts me like a cataract.
It’s a pity that our filmmakers dont use these natural, real, easily available and genuine artifacts of sight and sound in their work.
Very interesting indeed!
No translation is attempted.
To be continued. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to add some terms.
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