Kolkata May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss Roundup

On March 19th, in Elgin Road Crossword, May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss had its Kolkata launch event. With Bipasa Basu’s alma mater nearby, one could not but feel overwhelmed by the intellectual shadow cast by memories of her presence, in the same manner that one is overawed when in Shantiniketan. Helmed by Rimi Chatterjee, the event went off excellently with attendance being so considerable that the manager of Crossword said she had not seen such a crowd for a book event in that store. Ever. Not the kind of crowd seen at one of Bipasha Basu’s “Beeri Jalaile” lit-events on New Year’s Eve but still quite good.

Questions were varied and interesting with my favorite being “Why are Bengali men so bad at approaching women?”Β  Now I dont know when I became the expert on analyzing the pick-up techniques of Bengali men, but my answer was on the lines of “Bengali men are mortally afraid of being rejected. Hence they find it tough to start a business or approach women.” What I didnt mention was that Bengali men also lack good pick-up lines since “Why don’t we go to my place, say Hello to my mum and have some lau-sukto?” somehow have stopped working in recent times. [Telegraph coverage of event, (HT also covered the event but HT Cal doesnt go online)]

On March 25th, the good folks organizing Kolkata Twestival kindly asked me to be the chief guest at their event. Now as most people know, being a chief guest or sobhapoti or being asked to distribute prizes is a fantasy of every Bong man, a state of things beautifully brought on screen by Satyajit Ray in Porosh Pathor where Tulsi Chakraborty, dreams of giving a chief guest speech —“Desh-ke tule dhorte hobe.” (We have to lift up the country). So of course I readily agreed.

The venue had a small stage and a number of chairs and the moment I stepped onto the stage, I felt as if I was in an old Bengali movie, each of which would have a mandatory scene wherein the hero/heroine sings in exactly this kind of milieu while Sukhen Das, the ever-sacrificing elder brother, dies of cancer of lungs, heart, throat (not of kidney since he already donated one to get the youngest sister married and the other to pay for middle brother’s “Bilet” [London] education) all the while telling one and all not to disturb the singing brother/sister with the news of his impending death. Resisting the urge to sing ” Anek jamano byatha bedona ki kore gaan holo jaani na” (I know not how my pent-up sorrows came out in song)Β  from Parabat Priya in a Tapas Paul/ Tennis Ball style or to make eyes at the camera Aparna Sen style and belch out “Aache Gour Nitai Nodiyaate” [Gour Nitai is in Nadia], I concentrated on the job at hand—to make some coherent points and to answer the wild variety of questions as appropriately and accurately as possible.

The best thing of the evening, besides the enthusiasm of the organizers, was the fact that more than Rs 17,000 was raised for charity (Concern India). [Above picture courtesy @_samiran]

Now for book. MIHYAP sold out at Oxford Kolkata. Crossword Kolkata ordered a fresh stock. And Crossword at Saket Delhi is also sold out of the book for now. They said new orders have been put in place. It is available at the main Landmark store in Bangalore (confirmed) and in several major places in Mumbai. Chennai and Hyderabad I am still not sure. May I request people there to please order through Flipkart whose service is excellent and price very reasonable.

And so now I check out to make the long flight back.Β  Stay good everyone. And more importantly, keep it khulla.

53 thoughts on “Kolkata May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss Roundup

  1. Abhishek Chhibber March 26, 2010 — 8:02 am


  2. I went to railway station today….the announcer was promoting your book a lot πŸ˜‰

  3. I went to railay station today…the announcer was promoting yr book a lot πŸ˜‰

  4. congrats on the successful sale of the book!
    also looks like im first, and since ur a successful author, real Ipod please? πŸ™‚

  5. The clipping from the Telegraph has been very strategically edited to show our man as the one who changed Jatra and policed Calcutta during war:) Ei na hole GreatBong.

    Congrats on the very very successful trip and wish you sales, royalties and more book deals:) Have a safe flight back!

  6. Greatbong, have you ever written about the desi consultants (every one of them with an experience over 8 years and yet the dressing sense of a fresh college grad) and how their life is in the States? Isn’t it time to write about such more serious issues (which is also the hidden cause of tons of Americans losing their jobs – not to outsourcing, but ricesourcing!)?

  7. Why do bongs write Beeri for Beedi…and Taade for Taare??!

  8. Congratulations GreatBong. And may I say, you have gone ahead and walked the unbeaten path which you rightly say bong males are typically afraid of. Kudos to you. Attaboy and all that.

  9. Great to hear about the sales of your book. The clipping from The Telegraph was very smartly set indeed, even if you did not change jatra or policing in Calcutta during war your blogs definitely changed the way we saw things around us. Keep up the good work.
    P.S. Will be ordering the book immediately.

  10. Rimi Chatterjee looks like a female version of IIPM’s own ponytail guru … and the cabbage sandwich there was really weird … and was kind of feeling cheated by your book when its a rehash of your existing blogs … A fact you kind of revealed it at the book launch , when I have already pre-ordered the book …

  11. RahulK,

    Having read the book and gifted 3 copies, the book is vastly different from the blog in many ways. Plus you may want to talk a little bit more respectfully about people like Rimi C if only because it reveals your upbringing. Maybe we can see a picture of you too and see which moron you look like. Wait I know. You look like Rahul K.

  12. Congrtaulation on sale of your book and I am sure it must be a good one.

  13. Hey GB, I went around in almost every store in Bangalore for the book. Everybody had it in their database, but not in stocks ? Why ?
    So, I finally booked on Flipkart day-before-yesterday and today morning got my book πŸ™‚ And that too with a 30% discount πŸ™‚

  14. @Anonymous

    Well me looking like a moron (I do anyways) won’t change the fact the way Rimi C looked like that day .. atleast to me .. You can always cast doubts on my lineage or maybe I was smoking weed that day ..I am fully entitled to my opinion.. If you really can’t digest it , nobody asked you to read it anyways .. If Greatbong finds that offensive let him edit it out .. But just because she’s a high flying author doesn’t insulate her from criticism on how she looked that day ..

    The same goes for the book .. I was highly disappointed with his book .. It started out well (something which I have commented before also) .. He did promise somewhere that his book will be completely different from this blog … But in the end , he conveniently included exisiting blog entries which we have already read … Agreed the new entries were vintage GB but these are few and far in between ..

  15. Hi! My first comment here, though I’ve been reading for a long time (2006 I think). Reading the book and totally loving it. Might post a review over the weekend too.

  16. Don’t know when you will arrive in the DC vicinity but hope it isn’t this weather. We’re getting some pretty serious clammy rain over the weekend. On the other hand, what is it in Kolkata, 42 degrees C?

    Oh well, at least you don’t like in Detroit. πŸ˜‰

    Congratulations on the sell-out.

  17. Are you going to have a book reading/promotional event in the DC metro area as well?
    If so- when/where?

  18. Anindita and anyone in the DC-MD-VA area,

    Write to me at my email id (in the contact tab) and we can set something up.

  19. Wow you are having THE trip of your life to India. Congratulations Arnabda.

    From Engineer to blogger to author ….

    Anindita, if you guys do have something in the DC-MD-VA area, please let us know. It does not have to be anything big get together over coffee maybe ……. also all of you guys are more than welcome to New York πŸ™‚ ……
    Tea and Sympathy is a great place for “high-tea” !!!!

  20. MIHYAP is at LandMark, Somajiguda, Hyderabad. I just picked my copy yesterday πŸ™‚

  21. u seem to look quite young and fresh in those pics, perhaps, u should try your luck in bong movies after having already written a book.

  22. In the Crossword pic, the guy on the left looks like Amit Varma when he had long hair. And the guy on the right looks like….. Amit Varma now. So he has many avatars. Beware!

  23. Hi GB,

    Congrats on the success of your First Book..But good wishes tinged with sadness ….waiting for your reaction to the horrific fire that occurred at Park Street.. So many young ones lost their lives due to careless attitude of the authorities…How long before before we act. 3 weeks ago, the same story was repeated at Bangalore.


  24. My heartiest congratulations, Arnab! You made us all proud πŸ™‚

  25. GB, what exactly is your book about? Is it a collection of essays or a novel? I still haven’t been able to figure it out.

  26. rimi does not look like the ponytail man
    saw her with my own eyes.

  27. Not a novel Footballnath. A collection of essays.

  28. But GB, I ordered through Indiaplaza and it has a discount πŸ™‚ (if we order more than 1 book, the shipping is free)

  29. Hi GB,

    Thanks for coming to the Kolkata Twestival event. We appreciate the effort and time. Would like to thank you from all the TwestivalKol organizers.

    Hope to have such interactions with again in future.

    Hope you enjoyed the event.

    BTW pic are up on Facebook group page here http://bit.ly/aZtFh4 and on Flickr here http://bit.ly/b9RwIc

    Arjun Ghosh,
    tw: @arjunghosh

  30. It was good to hear you speak at the crossword event– though you had to speak more about your blog and less about the book.

    I read the book and liked its dry humour. But I guess its non-linear structure may not be appealing to a lot of readers. But it worked for me.

    Congrats on the book sales:)

  31. Congratulations on your book doing well , am genuinely happy for you

  32. Kudos GB! I am extremely happy for your success. There was a time when I was in a pretty depressed state and one of the things that used to cheer me up was reading your blog articles πŸ™‚ And the same are being shared to a much wider medium (at least in India) through the book!
    I sincerely hope you continue to keep us blog readers entertained ….till your next book πŸ™‚

  33. Tiwary MOM today…now ur turn to eat the pie πŸ™‚

  34. http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?264738-0
    Two pieces you may like, though a bit different from your current flavour. Got the link from Prem Panicker’s twitter page. High chances that you have read them already, but if not, you might want to take a peep.

  35. Rimi C does indeed look like Arindam C from IIPM.

  36. Congratulations greatbong! Am yet to read the book :-(, have been looking for it around Hyderabad. But my friends in Cal keep on telling me that its vintage gb stuff!

  37. Rimi C used to take our class in 1st year (English, KGP’01). We used to find her quite knowledgeable and a good teacher. And she used to look quite different from what she is now.

  38. all the best! you are the face of aam aadmi

  39. hi GB..is the person to your left in the pic Rimi Chatterjee? iS she the same person who once used to be Professor of Humanities in IIT kgp?

  40. Sorry I meant the person to your right!

  41. I pre-ordered the book but due to a busy schedule started reading it yesterday only and boy am I disappointed.
    Majority of the people who will buy this book are going to be the regular readers of this blog, how can you just copy paste your existing blogs bind it together in a book format and expect people to pay money for it.
    I feel so cheated. The new chapters added to the book are hardly funny, after reading 5-6 chapters the best was still the Kasai escapade to Kolkata, which again is an existing blog entry. The NRI article is so desperately trying to be funny, I am not saying its a bad book but for a regular reader of this blog will find nothing new but only disappointment.

  42. thank god u told that she is Rimmi C otherwise i thought she is archana puran singh with specks.

    delhi event on 6 march…kolkata event on 19 march. In between i think you use facial thrice a day that’s why you look like LUCKY CHIKNA compare to delhi event.

  43. Where has kate gone?
    Without her around, KKR is looking a lost team.

  44. I have started reading your book..The testimonial part was too good…reminded me of the ads on Zee india during my USA days..
    A brilliant write up, I must say.

    @ Blore folks, the book is available in landmark, forum. I got this book on this sunday only.

  45. I would agree Arnab – Flipkart’s service is good and so is price ( A caveat : Online marketplace is at the ned of the day a marketplace – its best of compare prices at 2-3 other portals , esp. while buying books).

  46. I would agree Arnab – Flipkart’s service is good and so are the prices ( A caveat : Online marketplace is at the end of the day a marketplace – its best of compare prices at 2-3 other portals , esp. while buying books).

  47. @Soumya

    Yes. She was Asst. Prof in Humanities @IITKGP from 2000-03.

  48. Got my copy of the book delivered couple of days back…. I liked it for most of the part. Since, I also belong to the same generation, some of the things looked like my own experiences and thoughts.

    Quick question though: not much on cricket in the book. Besides, your ‘sun’ comment on Sachin is the bestest one (in my opinion) from this blog. So probably something on cricket would have been great.

  49. GB
    hd to de-lurk today to Congratulate you for the sucessful launch & sale for the

  50. What about people living in the Toronto area? I guess you are only looking after the Amrikans! 😦

  51. Congrats πŸ™‚

    Meanwhile greatbong should check out the latest hindu puritancals in the neighborhood –


    πŸ˜€ Hilarious!

  52. read you book…it was ok…200 was too much for it as most of the stuff are from you blog. liked the introduction but somehow the pace was not maintained thorough the book. do a second book.

  53. Couldn’t find a better way to “Hebb your attention” so here goes, read the ‘priceless’ book, borrowed from brother who bought it at a discounted rate from flipkart. So u delivered on ur promise there…

    Despite huge reservations about your (take/observations/ musings of the demented mind whatever u may call it) quite a few chapters were really big let downs. BIG in CAPITAL BOLD 50 font, esp the kasab, porn download, phone sex, biye, and the Gunda references. SAD terribly so for some of us who’ve read the blog.
    But being the nice podpaka and ghaem newa trivia friendly bong that i am, all that i wanted to tell u (and yes i still want to tell u this in case u’ve figured/been told) is:
    Aatish= Atul Agnihotri
    Pardes= Apoorva Agnihotri (both Mahima and Apoorva debuted as SRK stooges in a Subhash ghai film )
    And the only reason why i thought u need to know that is that the next time u go all snotty and point out ‘factual’ errors (baba sehgal thread on twitter) to others.
    Its just a better idea to be safe urself, refer Raaj kumar famous lines Waqt ” Chenoy Seth, Jinke ghar… n all that jazz”
    Just for the record jaffadude points the obvious: If frickin hopeless authors like chetan bhagat sell @ 95, u dude are chicken feed. But bar ey (read bar code) khudiram is but bongs’ right! sigh…

    For some trivia Hirok raja’r deshey is widely acknowledged as a political satire on Mrs G’s emergency, so ppl who’re stuck up on saddam statues may need some trivia correction too.

    Much like Ms Mimi, i might stir your legions of fans/supporters/well-wishers into action and brew another tea-cup storm here. But that my friend is not my intention.

    I just dropped by since u explicitly asked for feedback on ur book. It reminded me of a few things (which could be good or bad). The book falls on its face even to ppl who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s in bengal and did not have cable or internet, and did stay up watching TB6 Mockba!

    But the BIG problem is that u’re a South Pointer + Engineer + PhD in the US of A. so i can see you turning out to be the snobbish “Dr” in a dressing gown getting bloody minded and thoroughly waiting to sting me with your repartee.

    Till then. Adios.

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