As reported briefly elsewhere, the team of Anyesha and moi won first prize for quiz as well as antakshari [basically a music quiz] at Sparsh, 2006.
Besides the sheer rush of participating (and winning let me add) two of my favourite events after quite some time, what made it doubly fun was the drive back home when memories of fests and culturals from days gone by came flooding back like the tunes of a long-forgotten song.
I have always been a quiz man though not really out of choice.
What I really wanted to be was the Western choreography man— that tall, lanky guy in shades, white shirt, loose tie (looking suspiciously like a happy Eureka Forbes salesman) who stands with his back to the audience, waits for the flourish of the music to begin, turns around, makes a sexy face and then does a jig that inevitably sends the assembled girls into swooning fits. But alas. My father frowned upon “cultured” boys going to dance classes administered by the John Travolta of Calcutta—–Tito Dey for which this dream remained firmly in the pipes.
Failing this, I wanted to be the band-man—the guy who plays the lead guitar or the synthesizer. This is where my mother stepped in—no no none of that. She wanted me to sing Rabindrasangeet. Now tell me dear readers, how many ladies would want to be the “band-aid” of a guy who plays the harmonium?
And so I became the quiz man—and not a great one at that too. You know the type that comes in third when there are only two prizes and fourth when there are three and on the rare occasion that he wins, finds that the Western choreography is going on concurrently in the next hall (which means that that only God witnessed his moment of glory and as we all know, He never tells) with the first prize for the quiz being a T-shirt a size too small.
Yes that kind.
Did I say choreography? Oh yes. The highlight of any fest—at least for me.
Will I ever be able to forget those two girls from South City who while doing “Yeh Pyar Kya Hain” from Gupt, in perfect Swiss precision grinded against the lucky Eureka Forbes salesman like two well-oiled gears, one moving down to up and the other up to down before pushing away the guy from between them and doing it to each other (the up-down body grinding that is)? Will I ever be able to forget the ensuing whistles and catcalls, the hushed “chi chis” (shame shame) from some of the non-males in the audience (whom I called “friends”) and the 880V of pure desire surging through my veins?
Will I ever be able to forget that beautiful girl who in a red ghagra danced to “Athra Baras Ki” from “Anjaam”, working the crazed crowd with her intermittent winks, her jhatkas and her rather non-irritating habit of showing her ghungru by hiking her ghagra when she did a difficult step—-an act that made people like me want to do jorajori chane ke kheth main.
No I don’t think so.
Now that I think of it, school fests, by and large, were very class-conscious affairs. There were these rich, hep schools like La Marts (the original La Martinere that is—not the fakes like La Martindale) where the guys wore gold watches, had wallets with 50 rupee notes stuffed in ’em and the girls wore their skirts three inches above their knees. Snotty patricians all of them—-they would mock the less fortunate for their rather quotidian appearances and Bengali-accented English (the ones who pronounced “sir” as “saar”).
And then there was us, the derisively named “Shirtpanters” — the boys sporting fake cellphone pencil boxes and loaded with bus change and the girls Mullah Umar approved skirts in direct contravention of our school motto (namely “Courage to know”), with the skirts starting from where their socks ended. (The bold ones even showed some ankle)
[Present day South Pointers who may feel a bit confused at this characterization of their alma mater, please do remember: this was in the ancient age when SPHS was a place where middle-class traditional Bengali families sent their kids: not the Hindi High-wannabe that it has become now—a more detailed post on this may happen in the future].
Each competition thus became like a battle between civilizations with one side basing their power on arrogance and the other on their desire to possess 0.72 virgins each.
No prisoners were taken. No quarter spared. Great fun was had.
However I never really enjoyed college fests so much—-and that may be because I was mostly associated with Sanskriti (the Engineering fest of Jadavpur University) which I felt was just a venting area for frustrated, horny men and junkies trying to smoke some Manipuri stuff.
Okay maybe I am exaggerating but somehow doing the train dance round and round the Open Air Theatre, extensive gancing (guy-on-guy dancing), passed-out men having water splashed on their face, the smell of puke and sweat as a Bangladeshi band with fake wigs belted out loud loud music was never my idea of fun. And added to it was this group of so-called quizzers (which had the great Parnab in its ranks) that had made quizzing like our school-leaving exams i.e. leaked questions, questionable facts and irregularities of the worst kind [Psst: real reason I was pissed off was that I was not part of that group of colluding quizzers].
To top it off, the inhospitable, martinet sitting at the reception with a T-square swung across her shoulder like Gadadhari Bheema’s instrument of violence with her matching salwar kameez and white sneakers, all the time getting enormous bhau from the guys at the counter (” please stay for a bit longer”) compounded my sense of unhappiness at the matters of the world.
Yes of course I have been to good college fests: the medical schools put up a good show and I had a whacking time at a quiz in Loreto College. I never went to Xavotsav where it was traditional for cops to break up the action and “rubber balloons” are reportedly found strewn all around the morning after. However, I guess one is supposed to have the most fun at his/her home fest. Which was certainly not the case with me.
But then again, why crib ? Especially in this age when all the memories come together forming a synaesthetic pattern in the magic loom of my mind —the butterflies in the stomach as the quizmaster says “Your direct”, the enchanting perfume of that Pratt Memorial girl, the smugness of ace-debater Bunty (the one who had that hot girlfriend named Ankita), and the last strains of a Baul song washing over the fields of JU as the sun vanishes behind the Chemical Building and the jumbo-sized mutant mosquitoes come out for a 8 course meal.
Sparsh 2007—here I come.
86 thoughts on “Fest-ive Memories”
Ailahh..I have d enviable honour of the FIRST comment. I will get a good sleep today 🙂
your post sent me into a nostalgic mood & I remember the day, when I came 2nd in a Lemon Spoon Race…Man tat was awesome
Anyways loads of congo
great post keep the great work goin.lucky 2 be the first 1 to post.
no mention of stonybrook ? :)) enjoyed your quizzes there.
*caught in a wave of nostalgia*
Fest…..babes….fun ….win….beer…fights….. ta tada ta tatata, ooh ahh ooh ahh.
“the boys sporting fake cellphone pencil boxes and loaded with bus change and the girls Mullah Umar approved skirts in direct contravention of our school motto (namely â€œCourage to knowâ€), with the skirts starting from where their socks ended. (The bold ones even showed some ankle”
Too good, man! I’ve been ur reader for quite a while!
Could identify with u quite a lot! Am another of those unfortunate quizzers who was used to getting those onesize-too-small tshirts, sponsors’ mousepads, unusable internet accounts etc as prizes in fests whereas the western dance dudes jived away with the babes n the adulation.
Well,have to say i did get lucky finally once i got into corporate quizzing populated by quiz masters such as the bearded monster;-)) The first big win was a bike (do follow the link for the story of that Enfield Bullet) Also managed to win the Brand Equity Qz this year. Like my bong pal Sid used to say “How many ever quizzes u win; how will the uncle stayin in the above flat come to know that u are so good; unless u are on tv or on the newspapers?)
keep blogging and do visit my link if uve got time
Brings back memories… scores always used to be rigged by the home teams :)… sigh… those were the best times!
i dont remember a debater, an ace at that, called bunty….ever being in the school fest circuit…and why was his smugness so memorable?
Series Nostalgia triggered. 🙂 Reminds me of the blooper of a skit we had directed (but had huge fun in the process..and after) and the one inter-engg-college fest where the orchestra of our college drew such a huge crowd (thanks to Aniket) that one of my friends fainted out of suffocation bringing the celebrations to an untimely hault! 🙂
You took me back on a nostalgia trip – your description of skirts is bang on! hehehe!!
Here’s wishin best of luck for sparsh 2007 hehe!
Bored me to death.
Seriously man dont you have any other work!!!
You keep churning out posts as frequently as Ganguly plays and misses.
And the final outcome, most of the time is as low as Ganguly’s scores.
So grow up yaar and do something worthwhile for a change.
I know, I know, now all your fans who stick to you like chewing gum below ones shoes will start a hullabaloo about this comment.
I frankly dont care.
@Shri: Lemon spoon race….this is like our famous JU perpendiculars—side shows occuring perpendicular to the main event.
@Bidisha: Stonybrook quizzes…oh yes.
@flaashgordon: Now those are serious prizes….
@Ali: It wasnt score rigging here:….the quizmaster and the competitors were colluding with each other.
@Inquisitive: The name is fictional—the character is not.
@Snehal: Fainting…no kidding.
@Raahat: So when did you change your name from Surya? And seriously man, dont you have any other work than visiting my site, maintained by a person whom you called a “dumbo” ? Your life must seriously suck if you have no other alternative.
Who are you talking about Boss??
This is the first time I am commenting on this blog.
@Rahaat: Heh. Yes right. Well then someone used your machine’s IP to make ugly comments before—and that too many times–better secure that machine. 🙂
Wonderful write-up, it brought back so many memories from the Calcutta days. Of course, my school, Xavier’s, had the most waiter-like uniform in existence: white shirt, white pant, black belt and black shoes.
Anyway, I remember all of those school fests. I used to be a debater, first from Xavier’s and then from AGCS; since Xavier’s didn’t have any ISC in those days a number of us migrated after class 10. Man, it was so much fun. Had a bit of star power myself, I dare say. Thus, in this insignificant US existence it is sorely missed.
You SP people were pretty good at quizzing, but DBPC had a champ team. In fact, DBPC was/is the most underrated place on earth; they are real good in terms of intellectual ability, but lack the show off. Xavier’s was good at quizzing, debate and the charades, I guess.
Do you remember this Pratt Memorial fest organized by their ‘nature club’? Ah…could go on swapping stories for hours.
PS: I hear there’s no more South Point, is this true? What’s the story?
Wonderful piece of writing, Arnab. Brought back many a sweet memory and made me feel warm and fuzzy insied. 🙂
You forgot the most important thing…the Target Gift cards…the precious reward for all our hard work.
i belonged to such an antediluvian age that there were NO school fests. and later, i hung around the periphery of a group that was hell bent on turning themselves into doctors. most of them managed to do so but the amount they studied!!!
so to hear what happens at these EVENTS i had to wait till bhuto, my brother, got into BITS, Pilani.
the highlight, i was given to understand was the volleyball match in which the LSR ladies participated. the hero,horrors, was the one who could give the best desciption of the lower unmentionables sported by these ladies.
one fortunate male, even saw a pink thing with blue hearts printed on it. hoardes besieged his room just to hear him describing it. (this was pre sharon stone)
it has struck me just now that no one looked at the pilani girls playing the game.
just a case of grass looking more verdant on the other side of the court.
I agree with Raahat, you suck! I wish the net had something good I could read. Here I sit reading all the crap you write day after day, night after night. Remember, my time is money, so I am paying good money to read what you write and this is what I get?
You better get your act in shape and start writing something worthwhile or like Raahat, I will complain and whine and troll all over your blog!
It is my birthright to get something I like on your blog and don’t you dare deny me that!
So, stop writing all this junk about horny guys in Kolkatta and write more about lifeless, friendless lonely guys like me and Raahat.
To summarize … dude, you suck!
P.S: And in case you didn’t know, IP addresses are dynamic and reused, there are a whole bunch of people who don’t like you and it is just a simple coincidence that those guys all happened to have the same IP at the time they posted on your blog. Grow up!
Hey! I strongly object to the canards being propagated against my alma mater. While in LMB, I wore a watch where the only metal was stainless steel, and my wallet never contained more than 50 bucks. Also the Martinian women, while wonderfully elegant and desirable, would always wear their skirts below their knees. In fact, we only went to fests to catch women from less classy schools – the various Birla ones, for example – who were not averse to flashing a little leg.
Hey, hey…I had to come back since Swati mentioned my alma mater. Atleast the men could ogle at the out station women. Unfortunately, the men’s teams that showed up were usually from schools with names like TITS, Patiala (I kid you not!!,…try cheering for them!) and the players usually belonged to the whaant-too-doo-frandship-with-me club. The cute out station guys(I realised this much later) were to be found in the chess or TT room!! Its funny how your brother mentioned BOSM (BITS Open Sports Meet) and not OASIS -our cul fest (often fondly called Open Air Sex in Shiv-Ganga).
@Vasabjit: Pratt memorial nature’s club? No never heard of it though it sounds delicious. Maybe Rimi, if she reads this, can tell us more.
And SPHS is very much there: at least as far as I know.
@Mystic Margarita: Thanks…
@Swati: Very “uplifting” anecdote…I must say.
@Anonymouse: There are static IP addresses as far as I know also. Of course if the IP was dynamic then what you said is true——I have so many people who hate my blog (but cant stay away from it) that their dynamic IP addresses are also coming up the same.
@GG9: See 50 bucks at least you had ! We SPHS-ers had small change. And I have seen much la marts above knee sights, excuse me —-of course the Birla girls were very accommodating no doubt. Incidentally I always found it intriguing when a girl introduced herself as the “head girl” to which I replied (always in my mind) : “Oh so do you?”
@Anyesha: Amazing acronyms.
i am very glad to ‘meet’ a denizen of the mira bhavan.
i have only met friends of my brother — the unsuccessfuls.
the successfuls were the ones who could claim to be on handholding terms with someone with a XX chromosome.
what intrigued me was that the unsuccessfuls called the fairer sex ‘the non-males’. but everybody had a hope. a dream, to occupy a room in the darshan wing.
did you, too, have a chauffer driven bicycle?
as for OASIS, my brother, having pretentions to culture and morality, had to be someone or something in the organising committee (third paper clip, i guess) and thus missed out totally on the FUN aspect (or so he said)
why did the LSR get invited and not the St Stephen’s?
who were responsible for inviting the TITS?
do i smell a conspiracy where the successfuls, eager to hold onto nailpolished hands, would only invite un-ogle-able males!
Great post Arnabda… made me feel so nostalgic.
I was also always a quiz guy, but as you said…“the type that comes in third when there are only two prizes and fourth when there are three”… We managed to bag the 2nd Prize at Xavotsav one year, but the prize was a free pass to a bowling alley. A friend had gone to collect the prize on my behalf, and he promptly utilised the pass with his girlfriend. So that was that. I also used to participate in creative writing…probably the least-cared-about event in any fest. 😦
And yes! I once won a bar of soap and a toothbrush in the Bhavanipur College Fest (I’d rather not mention the girls’ dress code there) by shaving a baloon and saying a tongue-twister respectively. Two of those perpendicular events, as you call them.
In Class XII, I remember an occasion when we had gone to another school fest, and during a skit, one of our guys (who was playing a pahelwan wearing a towel) inadvertently did a Sharon Stone. The girls in the auditorium went into a tizzy, and the organizers responded by turning off the stage lights! And the poor fellow was continuing with his dialogues, wondering what happened to the audience… 🙂
I have been reading your blog for a while and absolutely love it. I used to be in the quizzing scene in Kolkata and used to hang around JU as a student, so I wonder when you were there.
BTW, even Neil O’B, that blue-eyed boy of quizzing, made questions of “questionable facts”. One of his favorite ones was “Who is known as Poltu-da in Calcutta?” the answer to which was Pope John Paul II. Huh!
nice post once again. the school and college fests was always source of greatest excitement when we all dreamt to be get laid in those auspicious events. For me it was OPUS in school days (St. Lawrence). Till I was in my 10th it was a great mystery… At last when I was in the 11th and 12th it seemed for a brief moment that yes now I can peak into all the best things in life (i.e. chicks and their USA… under skirt attractions) during the OPUS. Unfortunately the school father and a couple of frustrated teachers were too strict about that stuff… but again in those days looking at a girl was good enough for an instant hard on and a quick trip to the bathroom… You wont understand the pain and agony of a guy stuck in a boys school for 12 yrsâ€¦
Next was the legendary Xavotsav… while I was in SXC for 3 years only attended once and got to see enough cleavage and thighs to last my fantasy for at least couple of years.
Now I think you dont know in ISI-Cal we had our own fest called INTEGRATION. Well I would say that was the most poorly attended fest in the entire Indian subcontinent… no girls almost no good events/music… hence no fun at all…
Looking back to those days… I often think the fun for me was not participating in the main events like quiz and debates but rather going with the crowd, jumping up and down and throwing some random kicks (for me it was the best move on the dance floor).. to impress/attract â€¦ hence ultimately repel girls.. 😦
Thanks for the post, Arnab. Have been reading your blog since sometime. Wonderful job! Hey, you guys really brought me back memories of days in school,including comments from Vasabhjit and Gamesmaster-G9 who if my memory serves not to ditch me were pretty much around during my contemporaries in Calcutta ( former – the great Lalee and the latter – the economist from the my same batch in college ).
I came from these so called less classy schools – Carmel High with my skirt reaching to a length where my socks began. Our weekends were spend pretty much attending these quizes too, although we never could cut a mark amidst you guys from SPHS ( did you ever have Barry O Brien giving classes to you folks), LMB ( the inevitable N Maitra )and quack of destiny’s child from DBPC, SXC . Those were the days my friend….Lah lah. We ofcourse went to lose but didn’t care a hang, we were too exuberant then! And frankly I don’t remember having fantasizing any enthu over the guys from these schools, instead the Quiz Masters took the lead. Happens all the time with women falling for older men, you see. I almost had a crush over this fellow – Joy Bhattacharya ( who I think edited the Bournvita-Part1 book with Derek and the guy who used to write in Telegraph – Srinjoy Chowdhury/Chakraborty ( I forget) Krishnendu Banik was kinda snob, Parnab was cool and Soumyadeep, Kushal Biswas were good too. Derek would always be an eternal fav since the first tastes of the quiz circuit through Maggi and Bournvita. Oops! Got really carried away, I should say….
Keep it going! Incidentally, if you guys really love quizzing and is located nearby NJ area, every year Asha for Education ( a voluntary org. of which I am a part of )organizes this Professional Quiz in Rutgers. It’s the time when I relive my memories of those bygone days. We usually have teams from Columbia, PSU and as far as U MAss joining us.
Check the link at
@Arani: I read your comment and can’t help commenting that I have personally heard Pope John Paul II being referred to as Poltoo/ Poltoo-da by Bengalis often (Paul II = Poltoo), so that fact is probably not questionable. 🙂
This post made me remember my old school days too. Unfortunately, I have been a Pointer too (passed out in 2000)… and I don’t think things had changed too much by then. Ya… we used to fare better at fests, and Udaan was much bigger and better (i was one of the organizers in 2K)… but then, Parnab was still around (i believe he still is), LMG/MHS etc used to draw crowds, and La-Marts still portrayed arrogance (sorry G9.. hehe)
But what used to really irk me was that in the most heavily populated school, you could never find a handful of people willing to participate inspite of having the requisite talent.. and the reason was ‘tuitions, studies and maa-baba saying no”.
So, people in the science sections would never be forthcoming (except for quizzes maybe) and then it was left to us commerce vellas to make up… this saw obviously untalented people like moi participating in over 8 events in a fest, just for the heck of it 🙂 So… lots of fond memories associated with fests
And ya… while we are talking about SPHS, one thing which really intrigued me was why they called it a co-ed school… coz as we used to put it… there were men, and there were boys… we never spotted a girl in there :p (with all due respects to the members of the fairer sex at SPHS… this is meant to be a joke)
“And yaâ€¦ while we are talking about SPHS, one thing which really intrigued me was why they called it a co-ed schoolâ€¦ coz as we used to put itâ€¦ there were men, and there were boysâ€¦ we never spotted a girl in there :p (with all due respects to the members of the fairer sex at SPHSâ€¦ this is meant to be a joke)”
Kya baat kar raha hai bhai ? I don’t “concur”.
Beautiful Post Mate!! Was a good trip down the memory lane!!!
Well, the quizzing anecdotes really hit the target!! I too had the great fortune of winning a quiz and there was not a single person other than the quizzers witnessing it. And the funny thing in Mumbai colleges is that most of the quizzes happen in classrooms!! And for the other quizzes which used to he held with a sizable audience, well we would never be able to reach that stage 🙂
And really, we did want to dance like those people on the stage with their graceful movements!!
Go, get a life!
This one’s for two of the responsdents:
@ Oliveoyl: now, now, I wasn’t known as Lalee in Calcutta. That’s strictly known to my under-grad pals at Wabash College and connected folks.
@ Gamesmaster G-9: Reveal thyself…before I indulge in the usual internet stalking via Google 😀
Basabjit, old chap – I haven’t met you since we passed class 10, not counting scattered comments here. Heard some news from Shubho and others in the States, but that was a while ago.
Still do remember the dramatic debating style, and the rabble-rousing. Who can forget JAM at Zephyr ’96, with the incredible come-from-behind victory? Would have loved to debate against you, but unfortunately, by the time my debating career took off, I was in college, and you were in the US. I’m pretty sure I would have given you a much stiffer competition than the idiots who passed for the LMB debate team.
Who am I, you ask? Well…
@ Gamesmaster G-9, Holy S***!! These are very very accurate details of my unfortunate past. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org . So, you were with the LMB contingent or one of the emigres from Xaviers in those days? Zephyr ’96…wow, someone still remembers that stuff; yes, Buddhaditya Bhattacharya’s (the uncrowned king of JAM and HAM) face was worth seeing 😀
Shubho, who? Shubhobroto Roy? Where in God’s name have all of these folks vanished. I know this much: one of the best debaters of our generation has gone completely bat-shit and is back in Calcutta recovering 😦
Vasabjit…I’m still too cocky to hide myself.
Sure enough, do The Statesman – Voices or Rajrupa Ghosh ring a bell, incidentally both happens to be old friends !!!!!!
@Hariprasad Poojary: I always think everybody has a right to like or dislike any post on any blog. But if anybody like Raahat so dislikes all the posts or a major chunk of the blog then what amazes me is that why does he visit the said blog (here I am referring to GBâ€™s blog) again and again. According to me that could be either due to his craving for attention or he sure have some other hidden agenda. I decided to ignore this person and his ilk completely. But the reason I am now writing is to support your view where you have written to Raahat and his ilk â€œGo, get a life!â€ Thanks for expressing so aptly.
@GB: Again it is a fantastic post. I went to an all girl school and I was quite contented with my life at school till I went to a coed college and then I came to know what life is all about!!!! Yes, as the saying goes: â€˜those were the daysâ€™. No thanks for churning the memories and making me nostalgic and sad to re-realize that those days will never come back â€“ they are gone for ever.
Oye greatbong “Hindi High-wannabe”!!! NOOOO, my alma mater happens to be Hindi High now rechristened as Birla High. And those three words in ur post reminded me of the intense fights i used to have with my colony SPHS friends over who was the greatest SPHS/HHS, fights in which no prisoners were taken and none were spared. I would be waiting with clenched fists, barred teeth, my nanchaku swirling in my hand and my wallet stuffed with 50 dollar notes for the post where you lambast Hindi High and its clones. Not too much material in this post though to get into a fight. But the fire has been lit.
Oh and congrats for the double!!
Unlike most of ex-Jadavpurians(atleast of whom I know of)you seem to have a bad experience of OAT.Too bad you never got a taste of what happens Mohin playing their urban-folk numbers while their artist friend filling out the large canvasses in the background. Frankly that was the first time I realised what colourful music meant. As far as the so-called Gancing is concerned I guess it was a feature of all fests in India in our time. However I do remember seeing some ladies compartment in that train. Also boss which year (if my memory doesn’t betray me you passed out HS in 94…one year after me) of South Point you are talking of? SP girls rocked even at our times too…do you remember those socks folded to the ankle. Till date some of the best leggy beauties I saw were from SP only. Looks like someone missed out all the fun while concentrating on textbooks. BTW you gotta good blog running here…except for the fact that whenever it comes to JU your snobbery pisses me off. But then again opinion is like that particular piece of anatomy and everyone got one of that piece.Keep blogging,awaiting for some good posts.
South Point is very much in existence, Indranath Guha is apparently coming up with a new school using the name “the new south Point” or something equally ridiculous.The school was recently in the news because it supposedly made buying a particular brand of school shoes manufactured by a Marwari company that cost Rs. 850 and not the usual Bata mandatory. Fests as SPHS are much improved, lots and lots of cash is pumped in for the purpose. And I totally agree with you – the only thing worse than Sanskriti (engg version) is the Sanskriti hosted by the Arts faculty. But I shouldn’t malign JU here.
As per the question of school skirts 🙂 when I was there it was clearly stated ‘school skirts must touch the knees”.
Hmmm, this is interesting. So you say this is the same IP address from where some surya has commented before. Entirely possible. Coz I got this link from the Bookmarks of this comp. I have been reading ur blog for the last month and uptil now I was never bored or provoked to comment. I found this post boring and said so. It’s entirely my personal opinion. But if you say that anybody who doesn’t like your posts should stop visiting ur site, cool.
This is me last comment, unless Gamesmaster G-9 refuses to contact 🙂
@ Oliveoyl: Both Voices and Rajrupa does ring a bell. Well, not a bell but a big bad Korean gong, like they had at the Seoul Olympics! On that note, Projit Behari Mukharji, common to both of these notions, was in Calcutta this past year. Vasabjit will be in Calcutta all summer; so, see one of the above remarks and send me an e-mail.
And, may I ask what Rajrupa has been in doing in the past decade?
Oh you’re from SPHS! That explains so much about your blog. You know something funny? My entire family is from there, more of less. Father, his many siblings and cousins. An aunt went back to teach. All of us cousins were enrolled. Luckily, my brother and I left when Baba was transferred (that’s when the Birlas were taking over) and a cousin finished XII (in Science, what else?) this year.
I would rather watch the folks goofing at quizzes than the dances, btw. Not saying that to make you feel better but because quizzes offer more variety. And I’m from JUDE so I did go through the various Sanskritis… But then, I’m a girl and mostly, the women dancing leave me bored. They all do the same thing anyway.
LOVED IT! REALLY! Although I’m not as ancient as you, having passed out of CBS in 2000, I still felt quite nostalgic.Especially the quiz comments.Although I won a prize at almost all the school fests I went to, I never got much female attention.Imagine my jealousy when my younger bro informed me that many girls at fests had asked him whether he was the younger bro of Sourya Biswas.Pity they never sked me anything.Of course it helped that my bro was the centre of attraction at the fashion show.
As for college fests, I would like to point out two memorable incidents-of the unpleant kind.Second prize at BE College Shibpur was an audio cassette of an unknown singer(still unknown) after wasting time and money to travel that far out of the city.But Xavier’s takes the cake.First prize at Xavotsav 2004 was an audio cassette for commerce students accounting procedures which I am sure they had got as free.I told the committee prez that they were cheapskate bastards and he readily admitted they were.If they wanted to spend all their funds on bands and “miscellaneous” purposes hey might as well scrap boring events like quizzing and debating.
And SPHS Udaan in my time did not have a single Bong in the organizing committee.Amazing fact.
@Annonymouse and Raahat: As if somebody made you vow that you waste your time and money reading this blog. He writes for a readership that connects with his thoughts. We have no problem getting what he is trying to express. Better get some grass to snort up your nose if you can’t keep off the addiction to visit and complaint.
On a second thought, you’ve come to the wrong place on the net. There are tons of 3X stuff that will satisfy your dripping tounge and an exponentially escalating libido that refuses to take a minima, in the process creating someone similar to the crazed junkies you get to see in the shady back alleys.
Basabjit, I would have quite gladly revealed my secret identity, but I’m having too much fun here. Apologies for keeping you in the dark.
And was Prajit the great debater who is back in Calcutta? What is it about former members of the Presidency debating team?
And to make things a little easier, I was in Xaviers till class 10, and we graduated in the same year.
And – this should be a dead giveaway – while you were doing your thing at the JAM session, Shubho and I were on stage at a different event, which is why I actually missed the performance.
Hey GreatBong, nice post. 🙂 Sigghsss.. miss those college days, and the attempts(mostly unsuccessful) to pataofy gals of the guest college when we hosted our annual fest.
Caveat : Off the current thread.
A good piece on Pioneer. In one of your previous posts i had mentioned how according to me reservations actually harm those who use it..
Someone out there has done some hard work backing me up 🙂
[Copying it since Pioneer looses its url quickly]
‘Reserved’ tag may harm backward class students: Study
Yoga Rangatia | New Delhi
The ‘reserved’ tag for a student from backward class may do his confidence more harm than good. Over-emphasis on his caste makes him less motivated, lowers his self-confidence and he expects societal prejudice to work against him than if the caste remains anonymous, finds a one-of-its-kind sociological experiment in rural Uttar Pradesh.
In an experiment by World Bank researcher Karla Hoff and Pennsylvania State University’s Priyanka Pandey, showed that caste-consciousness sets in early among school children.
Lower caste students perform as well as their upper class peers, if they think the ‘teacher’ and other students do not know their identity. But their performance drops if the teacher announces their caste identity or segregates groups on the basis of their social status.
A group of six boys, three chamar (lower class) and one each Brahmin, Thakur and Vaysha, were asked to solve a puzzle followed by rewards if they got it right. Their identity was not revealed in the classroom. There was no difference in performance between the boys of difference castes.
In the second round, the teacher announced the child’s caste – his name, his village, his father’s name, his grandfather’s name and his caste – and the boy would nod if the information was correct. The result of the experiment was different from the one where caste was unannounced; performance of lower caste students actually dropped by 25 per cent.
The results were alarming in case of the third round where students were segregated on the basis of their caste. The performance of lower caste students went down by 39 per cent in comparison with the first round when caste identities were not known. The students seems least motivated to play the game because they perceived that the teacher had segregated them as ‘outcast’. The experiment was repeated 107 times with 642 children between 11 and 12 years of age studying in rural Uttar Pradesh.
The researchers conclude that one possible explanation for the decline in low-caste performance when caste is announced is that “knowing that the experimenter knows and is concerned with their caste, the low-caste subjects may expect that the promised payments will not be fairly awarded. If they believe- based on the lessons of history, personal experience, and the ongoing reality of village life-that the reward system is biased against the low caste, then the announcement of caste membership could be a cue that causes them to project onto this new situation those existing attitudes.
“The announcement-which may have a stronger effect because it is made before five of one’s peers may call into play the social training of a low-caste individual. Mistrust undermines motivation”.
Another possible explanation for the decline in low-caste performance when caste is announced is that underlining the social identity lowers the self-confidence of the low-caste relative to the high-caste subjects, they felt.
Psychology has shown that associating individual’s social identity with negative stereotype hurts his self-confidence and performance. If the individuals are grouped according to their identity, it implicitly raises the stigma of untouchability, the study concludes.
The experiment throws light on the deep-rooted social conditioning in India’s villages. The best of policies and legal framework have done little to alleviate the historical prejudices. As politicians look to expand their constituencies, they just might be reinforcing entrenched social order by harping on caste quota and reservations.
@Sourya: Strange! The comments section of this post seems to be uniting a lot of separated college friends… If you remember, your team was one of the reasons why our team always missed the prize by a whisker. The NUJS team was the other reason. 😦
After you passed out, Jackson actually approached me and asked me to join their team, which I felt was unethical and unfair to my team, so I didn’t agree. But your team was real strong while you were there… no denying that!
Great post! Triggered off some memories of college fests…always a welcome thing!
@Joy Forever: A guy doing a Sharon Stone…will the injustices never stop 🙂
@Arani: Me from 1994–1999 in the college circuit. As to the Poltu-da thing, Anandabazar Patrika (who I accept arent squeamish when it comes to “making news”) reported that—so you cant blame the OBriens for that.
@Statisim: Oh I have met a few from St Lawrence and can totally empathize with what you say. Xavotsav was something I sorely missed—-somehow never worked out.
@Oliveoyl: Yes Barry used to give us “classes”—-I used to be one of his blue-eyed boys. So much so that Barry and I actually sat on the same quiz team (SPHS) for the Sportsworld finals where Derek was the quizmaster (we won the best dressed team —prize was trouser material—given to us by Ms Gavaskar). Kushal Biswas…oh man…that guy seemed to have a center of gravity problem…swinging like a palm tree during a Kalboishakhi. The girls used to swoon for him—I never understood why.
As to the Asha quiz at Rutgers, I participated in the 2003 and 2004 versions and made it to the finals both years.
@ Nirav: Yes that was definitely a problem—-tuitions and the browbeating of parents. SPHS had a legendary Physics teacher called Anjanbabu who used to call me “Quiz” because of my tendency to skip out of school (special permission) at 4 to attend DI events.
@Anon: Yes I agree. There were some hot mamas around—but very few sir. Too few.
@HP: Yes so did I—the dancing on stage.
@yourfan: And so they are…gone for ever. Pity.
@Bishu: Well Bishu…tastes vary. I for one felt the painting canvass thing was intellectually-bookish-over-the-topism (which is my translation for “aantlamo”) [ and it was not an original idea either: MF Hussain was already doing it with Bhimsen Joshi (if I remember correctly)]—and let me add I really like Mohiner Ghoraguli (check out the lift “Prithibi” in “Gangster”)
Again I do not want to typecast SPHS girls as uniformly frumpy maids—but a large majority of them were…or at least appeared to be.
It is unfortunate that “not liking” the JU fest climate is interpreted as snobbery—but then to each his own.
I incidentally do know you very well—–maybe me becoming so fat in the picture kept you from recognizing me.
@Dreamcatcher: The new SPHS…oh heavens. Wasnt the shoes Reebok….I remember reading something like this on the orkut SPHS community.
Coz I got this link from the Bookmarks of this comp
Just curious. “This comp” is a computer in a cybercafe where my blog is bookmarked? Or “this comp” is your personal comp where RTDM has somehow made it into the bookmarks? Cause if its a public computer, then its pretty weird why all people who read RTDM from that machine seem not to like it at all (font settings?).
@Sue: Curious ! How does me being from SPHS explain “a lot” about my blog? 🙂
@Sourya: WTF ! That was a great story about Xavotsav—sums its guiding principles perfectly.
@Satish: Same here.
@All: Really great to see this post becoming a catalyst for finding long-lost friends—just goes to show how small the world is.
Sorry for consuming your comments space.But I would really like to know who is this Joyforever who is gassifying my by his extravagant praises.
I’ll give two guesses:
On that note, the guy who has lost it and is back in Cal. is not Projit. Projit is doing fine, though talking to Trotsky and Marx a bit more than is healthy. He is at SOAS in London; comes down for conferences at Cal. and New Delhi. Bhai, won’t mention the name of the guy, but he was class of ’96 from 30 Park Street, as well. And, I’m guessing people here will know him. He was a common friend of both of us and a better debater than me (my evaluation) and much better than that excuse of a Shivir (spelled it right?). Jesus, Zephyr ’96 is such a wierd thing to bring up; it’s like a memory spot that gathered dust for a decade. No one, I dare say, would remember that David and Goliath match. To be honest, the ruckus raised by Satadru and his loyal Madhya’ militia simply drowned out the other participants at times.
@Hariprasad Poojary: I happened to have a look at your â€˜complete profileâ€™ where you have stated that you are only 22 but have written to GB â€œWas a good trip down the memory lane!!!â€. At 22, you already have a memory lane? Just curious.
In any case I have already sent you a comment where I thanked you for your fitting suggestion to Raahat. Nice to see that at least Anonymouse has â€œokayedâ€ your suggestion!!!
Looks like NO’B was right after all about Poltu-da. This post does bring back memories. I, along with other JU people, have taken a bus across town — and more than once — to attend informal quizzes in Presidency canteen, at the Coffeehouse etc. Those were the days! However, the only people I recognize are Kushal, Soumyadeep, Joy Bhattacharya all of who I used to hang out with at Ashirvad and Arts Lobby. I must be old. 🙂
Arnab: I was at JU from 86-90. Was one of the organizers of ’89 and ’90 Engg. Sanskriti.
Statism: I was at ISI from 90-92. Was one of the organizers of ’92 Integration. It used to be indeed poorly attended.
Well, blame it on me. For me, a event which happened 2 months ago is a trip down memory lane. 🙂
And also, I was referring to my school days. It has been quite a while since I had ran the along the corridors of my school. And anything that triggers memories of my school life generally makes me go into a nostalgic mode.
Participated in some of the college festivals which no one except me knows.
And, btw I will be 22 till I die. ( My mom says that I behave like a 12 year old but that’s another story) 🙂
And, thanks for the comment against Raahat and Anonymouse. I too would have ignored them but…
So what made you miss out on the 2005 & 2006 ASHA Quiz – not worth the trip from Maryland /DC??? Will surely send you out an invitation next year.
Mail about Rajrupa’s whereabouts will follow. Good to know Projit is doing well,the last I ever remember of him was during Presi days and his tryst with some rouges in front of Central Metro Station trying to be chivalric,oops !protective( may I say). Man, it was with some great enthu that 200 of us blocked College Street in the middle of a sunny day to protest. It was so much fun! Meanwhile it’s amusing to watch Gamesmaster still playing it out with his identity, so did he reveal himself ? If not, I am resisting to play a nasty shot here..[:P]
Tsk, tsk, Basabjit. I am disappointed in you. Neither Ramya nor Arka were on the Xaviers QUIZ team. You forget, I didn’t start debating until college.
Interestingly, when I was in college – almost all the star debaters on the Cal circuit were Xaverians – Arka from SXC, Riddhi (one batch senior) and Siddharth Dutt from JU, and Gaurav Gooptu and me from Presy. Probably the fact that we always went in with the two-Xaverian formula ensured we usually won those contests.
And Olive – my batch in Presy? Carmel? I wonder who. And yes, your comments show you clearly know who I am. I scratch my head in puzzlement.
Which year did you pass out of JU? I am assuming that you left JU in the ‘pre-Quiz-Club-rejuvination’ days! We have a pretty active club now, I believe, and it all started about 5 years back!
@Arani and Som: I fell somewhere in the middle from 1994–1999 in the JU quizzing circle.
@Oliveoyl: Simply because I am not that great a quizzer unless Swapnil Patil is on the team :-)….I dont know anybody at Rutgers which makes the quiz the only reason to go there and also because I am really really lazy.
@ Gamesmaster G-9: there was Rishad and Amit Chhordia, but other than that I am drawing a blank.
@Oliveoyl: thanks for the note, yeah, you can take a shot at our the Mithunda clone 😀
@ Gamesmaster G-9
Don’t scratch your head, you might not get it. I pretty much avoided the Eco snobs (sorry!!- some of them were quite that way) except Abli and some folks ofcourse.
Nope,I’ll still resist. The fun is going well..:)In the process I am remembering some old names too – Riddhi Burman,Amit Chordia, yep – I certainly remember them.
Maybe next post, if A ( aka GG9 is still a mystery then). There,there – I gave away one initial.
There was Aniruddha Dutta (he vanished into thin air after class 10). There was someone called Ani Sen, but me don’t think he had enough grey for quizzing. Abhijit (what was his last name?); he elocuted with me. As about Ghoshie or Amartya; any of them quizzing has the same amount of seriousness as me playing cricket. Hey, on this note, Nishant’s in the US, Boston I presume. Also Madhusudhan Lohia spent sometime at Indiana-Bloomington; tried to track him. Anyway, other than this my memory fails… I SURRENDER 😦
@ Oliveoyl: send the email 😀
Yup, some of us were snobs. But you knew Abli? Might you be willing to reveal which department you were in?
Basabjit, I am disappointed. Because you definitely know who I am. Also, if you knew who the quiz team was, you would have to know that I was on it. Olive has correctly identified the initial of my first name. Still no?
Interestingly, I have recently met up with all the people you just mentioned. I attended Ani Dutta’s wedding, where Ghoshie also showed. Dutta stayed on in Xaviers for HS, and then moved to Bangalore. Met Rishad the same night – he’s moved back to Cal. Chhordia and Ani Sen are also getting married soon, as is Riddhi. Sen, like me, moved to LMB after ICSE.
I am in touch with Nishant over email – he is in Boston, and is another blog-reader. Heard about Lohia from Samir Talwar, who also completed his MA from UI.
WIll you stop flirting, G9, and tell Vasabjit who you are? I will, otherwise. And of course you were known as Lali in Cal, Vasabjit! Good to see you, by the way.
Great post, Arnab. Brought back many fond memories.
Hmm, presi eco snobs? wonder who she could be talking about :)?
Sigh … I had great hopes that my skills at sarcasm would come somwehere near GB’s but I guess I always get taken too seriously … well .. so is life….
Now I have almost as many people who don’t like me as those who don’t like GB, or maybe more!
@Samit: Thank you….and I am totally enjoying this coy “flirting” that is going on…..
Quack! Quack! Look whom we have here.
Why Samit? Care to know whether you were included among them? Let me check my list…
You were “so close, yet so far”. Neways, the mail has been sent.
Glad you admit the snobbery. Do I have to reveal ? Well, I just posted my “porichoy” in orkut’s Presidencians in the US group. Should be evident, if you recognise the cartoon.
Gosh this post (and comments section) was like the who’s-who (rather who was who) of the Cal fest scene. And judging from all the names that are being thrown around I remember and recognize a whole bunch of you guys (notwithstanding the blogger ids). Altho didn’t guess who oliveoyl is yet, but Carmel makes me curious. Really curious. So I guess we are all part of the same generation of Calcuttans. Arnab thanks for rekindling fond memories. Being on both side of the fence (“rich hep schools” as well as the ones with skirts that have to reach the top of your socks) I can tell you it was delicious fun being a snob. You get treated better at the fests. People know you. And you get to mingle with the other stars (Banik et al).
Anyway, it was good getting in touch. Aniruddha Gupta: name sounds familliar but can’t put a face on it, I guess. At first, I thought who was it? But, chief, a decade is a long time, especially if you spent the vast majority of it in the Mid-West of the US. It was wierd having met all of y’all at the same time.
To be honest, I was not winning any particular popularity contest in Xaviers. Rather, to be impolite, I was disliked by many, therefore, I have slowly but surely blanked out most memories from that period; whether by conscious or subconscious voilition I sincerely don’t know. The place and people who took me for who I am and respected any bit of the stuff were the ‘piddi’ and ‘kaddu’ folks from the non-snob places. I made it big when in AGCS, so, kind of consider it home. There were some folks who believed, like Projit (he was and remains the central character in my reinvention) and Borea. There were some real cool friends like Lincoln and Rajrupa. The Xavierians friends were people like Trilokjit (tilu) and Nishant. Ah, those Lighthouse Bar afternoons, Shatidi from Voices, the nonsense of being children. Those were the days that should have never end….
I left long ago, so, it’s better to let sleeping dogs lie, but that is what it was. Real sorry, Ani, I dimmed Xavier’s right out of it; there’s just a bit of too much hurt there to return. Ishan is sitting in Cal. (now you know), and Shivir vanished from earth. So many of us were done up and made up to burn out, man. Here, I debated all through college; went to four nationals, but could never replicate my success in Calcutta.
“Just as every cop is a criminal and all the sinners, saints. As head is tails, just call me Lucifer, ’cause I’m in need of some restraint. So, if you meet me, have some courtesy, have some sympathy…”
(in a rather plaintive tone)
You know, we had fun at fests in the 80s too.
What am I, the last of the dinosaurs?!
Greatbong, your SHPS alumnus status explains a lot of things, particularly your sense of humour and your liking for Mithun. See, I did study there, in the Junior section, and I was indoctrinated too. I gloss over those days now, though 😀
@M: Yes I agree—people do treat you better and you do get to giggle with the college circuit celebs.
@JAP: There were fests in the 80s? Wait there was the 80s?
@Sue: Junior Section only? Ooh you missed all the fun….
-mulla omar approved skirts-
Very funny. Well written.
i rememebr ani gupta….senior in school and denior quizzer…..lincon and rajrupa…voices in chance…..
let us not talk about barry…remember in one quiz he bought a dog on stage and asked us the breed….. hope it did something nice to you know who on the stage…..
anybody remeber guest passes for fests…the more you had the more you were in demand…….
i remeber one particular school down loudon street seem to have loads of it…..
Arani – ’86 to ’90, buses across town to Presidency? Jesus I remember you! And Pagla from NRS, and Rito from either NRS or RG Kar, Kau Bhau from CMC. We at presi had Prakash Dharmarajan, Surjotirtho Roy (Seddho), Saugata Ghosh, Abheek Barman, Kaustuv Neogi and hang on, was it Soumya Sen in our quiz and JAM teams — do you remember them? Ashok Malik joined sometime in 1988, I think (not sure about that). Our predecessors were the venerable Sanjay Mukherjee and Sumontro, as well as Sandeep Sen.
Those really were the days: Pramodda’s canteen, his poisonous cutlets, and Prakash Dharmarajan’s crackerjack one liners — those were the days!
Happened to stumble on this site by chance and loved every moment of it! Kushal Biswas is still going great guns with the femmes by the way. Some of you do have a point there.
Chanced on your blog. I was also a part of the team along with you in the Sportsworld final (guess we came fourth). I still have the magazine where our pics were published :). I think Atanu and was the fourth member. Anyway it’s great to know you are still into quizzing.
Yes Nayan. So great to hear from you after so many years. I incidentally have the same magazine still stashed away…remember the trouser material we won from Ms. Gavaskar !
What a great post. All those memories. YOu just made me relive those days. Yes I was a shirt-panter too but went to Xavier’s for my plus two. Remembered those guest passes during Xavotsav which made the girls at my para look at me for a change. I used to really enjoy the quizzes at DI, great times, I think won a T-shirt as an audience prize. Never could cut my teeth in Kol in quizzing but did really well at BIT, Mesra. Does Kol still have that tradition in quizzing? Been out for so long , seems like eons ago. God, those were the days
The previous post was mine
@GB: I have not just become a fan of the blog but so much addicted to it that I read it at work, at home, on my blackberry in the loo, in bed before going to bed and sometimes even at traffic signals when the light is red. I will now thank you along with Ms. Rowling for bring the joy of reading back to my life. I am in fact on a mission to complete all of your posts, and then start commenting, and over the past 21 days I have reached here. And this is where I had to comment because by some weird stroke of luck I have been indirectly mentioned in this post! And here’s how…
@Sourya: Congrats on winning the Xavotsav quiz 2004, and as you mentioned the prez of the organising committee, I plead guilty to being the same and also the quizmaster at the same event. It is only now, almost after three years that I get to know about the gifts that were handed out as prizes. Though I do not remember the conversation you quoted with me, but based on these new found learnings, I think I must have said what I seem to have then, ‘the organising committee comprised of cheapskate bastards’!! I sincerely apologise to you for having to undergo my quiz and then get that as a prize!
And Arnab, this is looking more and more like a Kolkata Quizzers and Debaters Lost and Found Association, isn’t it?:)
Been a fan of your blog for a while…. I know its kinda late for me to comment on this blog but I have been introduced to you only 3-4 months back…. And this one made me sooooooooooooooooooo nostalgic… Made me remember our college/school days… My school did ‘nt have fest as such… But we had the concept of Houses ….. One particular instance was the rivalry with a classmate who was also the Principal’s ladla…. Both used to despise each other like anything …. And this quiz became quite a bone of contention….. I still remember how my team has defeated him hands down …. Ah!! sweet revenge it was after all the other rigged competitions where I was not even granted even the Fourth Prize….
//Now that I think of it, school fests, by and large, were very class-conscious affairs. There were these rich, hep schools like La Marts (the original La Martinere that is—not the fakes like La Martindale) where the guys wore gold watches, had wallets with 50 rupee notes stuffed in ‘em and the girls wore their skirts three inches above their knees. Snotty patricians all of them—-they would mock the less fortunate for their rather quotidian appearances and Bengali-accented English (the ones who pronounced “sir” as “saar”).//
50 rupee notes! You’ve either missed a zero or you’re OLD.
Sigh! Tis such a burden to bear the envy of the Bongs. 😛
Each and every fest, the story was one and the same. Looks of awe and admiration greeted us Martinians out as we cheated our way to all the top prizes(or had Anirudh Chari on our quiz team)
Sigh, the burden of a uber-cool French name. Sigh! again.
HYE ME MAR JAO KIA BAAT HEI IS PAGAL PARHNE WALE KI WAH WAH WAH OR WAH CHAL AB DAFA HO BYE
Dukkho koro na Arnab_da, I always wanted to be Paul Oakenfold .
Ha! Well you should totally write that Hindi High blog post. Reppin the old HHS (or BHS if you will) class of ’02. I remember beating the editorial dokkhin bindu ass at lots of quizzes circa 99-01 (diss!).
Speaking of parochial classism, we were also called Bihari High by the sensitive Lamartiniere folks (as well as Parnab). The scars of that kinda still remain, even as I fail to fathom why enlightened people would want to hate on Biharis. Yet, they still couldn’t pronounce ‘register’ right.