Monday, February 25, 2008

Encroaching Cockroaches

It has happened twice with me within the last month. Once at 'Opium' at the Salt Lake Electronic Complex, and the other time at 'Peter Cat', one of the good restaurants in Park Street. The encroachment of a cockroach on my table, I mean.
Frankly speaking, the Opium is a bit too dark inside for my tastes, and resembles an opium den rather than a restaurant. I probably would have failed to notice the creature crawling up and down the spoon in the sauce container but for the light coming from the TV. When we called the manager and showed him the cockroach, he displayed such fantastic surprise that I felt I had showed him some extinct creature.
The waiter at the Peter Cat was completely opposite. When we showed him the cockroach that had decided to walk onto my plate from which I had just eaten the last forkful of my starter, he reacted with the impassivity of an English butler and literally carried the cockroach away on a platter, as if this was the most normal incident in the world. My boss (who was also there) complained to his boss (the waiter's, not the cockroach's), but he just did his duty by saying that cockroaches were removed once every three days, and the one that came on my plate was not supposed to be there. They forgot to inform the cockroach I suppose.
I may be acting as a cockroach magnet, or the restaurant owners may be having an unlucky run with me (I ran into trouble with my office cafeteria manager as well), but the point that I am trying to make here is that none of these two restaurants took any corrective action to improve my opinion about the place. If this was the US I would have expected to have a complimentary lunch, or at least a discount. No such thing here. The end result is that I end up doing bad publicity about these two restaurants on my blog.
These people have a lot to learn about customer relationship management. As for the cockroaches, they have a lot to learn from their American cousins too. I don't believe there are no cockroaches in the US. All they need is a little hiding skill, and they can prevent the occurrence of such blog posts in the future.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Blog Block

There is an ongoing conspiracy to prevent my blogging, and God is the Conspirator-in-Chief.

As if the workload and other problems were not enough, my company suddenly decided to block Blogger. Probably they realised that their brain-hoarding was not being effective as long as the free souls "on the bench" could utilise their brain in blogging and reading blogs. Since I have been spending more than half the day in office pretending to work, that drastically cut down my blogging time.

Then there was the cold that makes one lazy and sleepy. I used to nod off while trying to write posts at night and longed for the warmth of my bed. When the weather changed last week, I composed a post on the coming of spring and all, and how winter was finally gone. Before I could publish it, however, God intervened. That night I woke up with sound of a rainstorm raging outside and the loudest thunderclaps that I have ever heard, and the cold was back with a bang the next morning. That spring post will have to wait a few days I guess.

After that, my home broadband Internet connection broke down last Thursday, and even my plans for writing a post on my inability to write a post were jeopardized. Finally, my Internet connection was restored only a few hours ago and since I have office early tomorrow (Sigh! Tomorrow is a Sunday) and I can't stay up much late tonight, I thought I would sneak in this short post before something else happens to prevent me from blogging again.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I'm back

It's over two months since I wrote my last post (in fact, I wrote my last post last year). Yet, since I believe blogging should be done only when one feels that urge to write, I do not think this break was unjustified.
It's not that I didn't feel like posting. I did. Every day I felt that I should be posting something on my blog. However, I did not want to write a post just for the sake of posting it and keeping my blog active. Besides, I was terribly busy in office and non-office work (and some non-work too) and I must say that during these two months, no topic made me think enough to warrant a blog post. I have been working on one Tagore translation though, and it will be posted soon.
What was I busy about? For one week I had to stay in the office guest house and work in the EST time zone. For the other weeks too, the workload has been exceptionally high. I had to work even on the weekends. Then there were the grueling (by my standards) practice sessions for an office cricket match that never took place. Also, I had to get some work done from certain government offices. Since I don't want to crib about it, let me just say that the situation that Asterix and Obelix faced in BC 70 hasn't changed much here.

On Sunday, 20th January I missed the opportunity to photograph the Statesman Vintage Car Rally in Kolkata since I had office on that day. However, I have been taking photographs at other places, and particularly at weddings. One of my cousin sisters got married in December and my cousin brother got married during the last week. Both provided excellent photo opportunities and in my brother's wedding last week, I decided to use my father's old Pentax SLR along with my Sony digital camera. The results, of course are yet to come out of the camera, and once again, it makes me realise how easy photography has become since the time my father adopted it as a hobby. Some of the digital photos (non-wedding) can be seen here. Also, I went out to photograph Park Street and Esplanade at night during the New Year Eve weekend. These photographs can be seen here.

Speaking of weddings, I have been attending too many parties lately. There was my sister's wedding on 14th December, an uncle's wedding on the same day (I attended the reception on the 16th), a niece's first rice eating ceremony on the 23rd, a sister's birthday on the 30th, then a couple of team outings, a friend's wedding reception on the 20th of January and finally my brother's wedding on the 28th. Obviously, I have been enjoying the good food. Particularly in the last two events there were lovely fish and prawn delicacies since chicken eating is stopped here due to the spread of bird flu in the state. No wonder I have put on some weight.

I have seen two new movies: Sandip Ray's Kailashe Kelenkari in Bengali and Aamir Khan's Taare Zameen Par in Hindi. Both are very good films, and I may review them sometime soon. I also read Arthur Hailey's "Overload" and I'm reading "Portrait of a Director" by Marie Seton right now. I haven't read a lovelier book on Satyajit Ray.

I must stop this post here, for I am the only person representing my nine member team at office today. There is yet another Bangla Bandh today and Kolkata is more or less paralysed. Unless I pretend to do some work now, everyone at offshore will get into trouble soon. (Since I started this post with "I'm back", I was tempted to end it with "My back!" a.k.a. Peter Parker in Spiderman 2, but I can't think of any reasons to use that phrase.)