Wednesday, 10 September 2014


On Tuesday morning I was having a hair-cut at my courtyards when one of my DSP colleagues rang me. He seemed to be in a hurry to meet me with his son. It was
quarter to nine and its being a week day I had really some time constraint. He didn’t disclose the purpose. I could recollect the face of his teenaged son whom I had once come across during Tripura Mega Quiz couple of years back. Subhradeep is a school going boy. On that occasion he paid me respect by touching my feet amidst the huge gathering and he acclaimed my book, ‘Bridging Souls, A Journey from Mahabharata to Bharata’. It pleased me to know that he had read my book. So, this occasion I allowed my young admirer to meet me in the morning itself.

The father-son duo came to my quarters within half an hour. The boy was holding a huge trophy, besides a tablet PC, a medal and a certificate. He came third in the 9th Tripura Mega Quiz this year along with his classmate from Class-IX. It was not a fluke as the trophy he was holding marked the recognition of becoming first in the All Tripura School Quiz competition held amongst 49 schools recently. Their achievement is all the more important as it was a wild entry for the group and they competed with boys studying in higher echelon.

The other day I was reading the article ‘QUIZZICALLY YOURS!!’ written by my colleague Krishnendu Chakravertty at It’s an awesome piece particularly the history of the word ‘QUIZ’ in English Dictionary through one Mr. Daly; Manager of a
Dublin theatre enthralled me. In fact, this article inspired me to think if there was any Quiz program prior to adoption of the word. As it always happens with me I thought about the Mahabharata and it pleased me to find a Quiz session in the epic. During exile, once four other Pandavas happened to drink water from a lake, which was haunted by a Yaksha. Yudhisthira went in last to enter into a quiz episode. He answered many questions put forth to him by the Yaksha and released his brothers. This story is often cited as an example of Yudhisthira's upright principles. The Yaksha later identified himself as Yudhisthira's father, Dharma and pointed them to the kingdom of Virata to spend their last year in exile anonymously.

I am sure this was a Magna Carta in the history of our mankind. Similarly, the Mega Quiz launched by nine years back is a pioneering event as far as popularizing Quiz-program in our state is concerned. It’s just like the winning of Cricket World Cup in 1983 by the Indian Team led by Kapil Dev. The event lifted the cricketing talents in
India. Similarly, Tripura Mega Quiz has helped us in ushering in finding quizzing talents in Tripura.

Now, coming to this year’s Tripura Mega Quiz, I was there in the Rabindra Satabarhiki Hall with my better half during the final round. No word of praise is enough for the Quiz-Master Nandu Pannikar. It was further lively for me as the questions set by him through audio-visuals suit to my talents and I could predict some of the answers correctly. Not because Nandu is my friend, I can declare with authority that he will be equally successful if he brings out a musical album. The other two Quiz Masters, namely Abhijit Bhattacharjee and Bharat Jain also rose to the occasion. But, the X-factor was always with Nandu. Subhrajeet and the lady announcer also enthralled the audience with their eloquence of voice. Only, the question on Jeans put by Bharat Reddy seemed to be a repetition of an earlier edition. The program and the ambience of newly constructed Rabindra Satabarhiki Hall were electrifying. I am fond of Bengali word, ‘Aaratrik’, meaning the lamp which removes the darkness of night. I am sure that Tripura Mega Quiz shall continue to serve as an ‘Aaratrik’.

Monday, 25 August 2014


Badalbabu is sure that he will get back his missing finger ring. He has lost it on four occasions earlier but every time he got it though at some irregular intervals. Now, he is eager to see if it comes back galloping or cantering or trotting. As we know the canter is the controlled of the three-beat gait performed by a horse. It is faster than trot but slower than the gallop. I have used these terminologies purposefully. Badalbabu is my friend and a bureaucrat. He is retiring next year. Like me, he does not trust in the power gems. He often says, ‘The confidence as well as the personality of a person varies inversely with the number of stones put by him in his fingers.’

But, Badalbabu wears a metallic ring in his finger. It was gifted to him by one of his junior colleague Mangal Biswas. In fact, he gifted similar rings to his boss and other colleagues as well. These rings had been prepared by the gentleman from the plate of horse-shoe. It’s more than a decade. Mangal’s daughter was then studying in a college at
Bhopal. She was staying as a paying guest. The house owner has his own stable. After dropping his daughter when Mangal was leaving for Agartala, the house-owner gave him an old piece of horse-shoe and said, ‘Take this and keep a portion of it attached with your body. He will always get the blessings of God Shani.’

The gentleman has great knowledge about the particular God. He advised Mangal Biswas not to bow down head before Shani at the time of offering respects. Otherwise, the Lord of Saturday will sit on the shoulder of his disciple. So, Mangal Biswas prepared some finger rings with the metallic piece and gifted one to Badalbabu.

The ring was loose from the beginning. First time, when Badalbabu lost it he could not recollect for few days that he had lost it. But, he got it in canter gait from the drawer of his table after three four while disposing file. Next time, it came back to him in trot mood. This time, it was beginning of the summer after the departure of winter. One evening he was putting his shoes, but next moment he decided against it. The ring slipped into the shoe. It was only after about a month when his daughter put all his shoes in Sun for drying it surfaced.

The encounter of its coming back in galloping mood is quite interesting. It was a holiday in October. Badalbabu was trimming the rose plants of his flower garden. After completing the task he was dropping the cut-branches in the Municipality dustbin. Suddenly, one of his neighbour said, ‘Badalda, so you have even put ring at your rose plant!’

The ring was hanging from a thorn. It took maximum time for returning about two years back. This time he searched for it at all possible locations. Ultimately, it came walking as his brother found it in a gap of bamboo fencing of garden close to the gate. After opening the gate, Badalbabu generally keeps his hand on the fence and it slipped there in the process. 
I am also sure that the Saturn ring will come back to my friend.


It happened accidentally two three days back. Middle-aged Meghnadbabu seldom did get time to remain present on such occasions. It was a holiday. When his professor friend Bipul invited him as audience in a seminar, followed by dinner at Tripura Central University, he could not refuse. It was organized by the English Department and as a part of the seminar a few selected writers from Tripura and adjoining State Assam read out their works. One of the local writers read out a poem on facebook. He narrated how one of his poet friends is still alive in his Facebook friends’ list even after his death.

The gentleman was a common friend of Meghnadbabu in his facebook. In fact, Meghnadbabu has lost two three other close friends as well. He didn’t drop their names from the facebook, rather treat them as white dwarf stars. Meghnadbabu thought about his classical singer friend Snehashisbabu who died a few month’s back at the age of 85. Suddenly, it came into his mind that he had designed Snehashisbabu’s facebook profile. Initially his aged friend was not familiar with Facebook operation. He recollected his friend’s password.
At night, he opened the facebook account of Snehashisbabu. To his utter surprise, he noticed some new posts. But Snehashisbabu had restricted the recent posts within a closed group. None of the members of this group appears to be from the mortal world. Meghnadbabu decided not to disturb this setting. Instead he preferred to visit his new found domain as per his wish.

 Snehashisbabu’s one of the posts is on Jawahar coat. Meghnadbabu had seen the singer in an old Jawahar coat at various functions when he was alive. He thought that it might be his lucky dress and so he put on this all seasons. Sometimes, the artists are found eccentric. But, he didn’t know it was more than sixty years old. As we all know Nehru coat is a hip-length tailored coat for men or women, with a mandarin collar, and with its front modeled on the South Asian achkan or sherwani.  Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru visited Tripura in 1952. Snehashisbabu liked it. Late Edhan Khalifa stitched it for him with fine Munga thread. It was once repaired by a Khalifa of Lucknow when Snehashisbabu was in his Gurukul. Actually, it became short for his height and so a jhalwar was added with similar Munga garments. Meghnadbabu could make out difference in the texture of the fiber from the photograph of Snehashisbabu in his facebook.