Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bathroom- A place where geniuses are born

I feel that the world owes several of its ingenious discoveries and inventions to this humble place called ‘bathroom’.

Everyday I walk into the bathroom with a bloated stomach and an empty head, and walk out after 20 minutes with an empty stomach and a bloated head. There is some sort of magical serenity to this place which makes the head buzz with ideas.

On umpteen occasions, I have just rushed out of the bathroom in my ‘Eureka’ moment and grabbed a pen, paper, iPad, phone or laptop just to quickly jot down a plot, narrative, idea or a story that grew in my mind in that ‘fertile’ land called ‘bathroom’.

Speaking of ‘Eureka’, this word sprung into global usage only after one Mr. Archimedes popularized it when he ran out naked from his bath tub after the epiphany of ‘buoyant force’ hit him as he was enjoying his bath.

Source: Google images

So you see, bathroom does offer that solitude and relaxation that helps you to think out-of-the-box (in this case, out-of-the-tub).

Sometimes, I feel that the tale of the apple falling over Isaac Newton’s head is a fabricated made-up story. What actually transpired got hushed up in order to save the modesty of the great scientist. Maybe, he was just sitting over the commode and then ‘you know what’ fell with a splash and the idea struck him-

 ‘Why the hell did it go down and not come up’.

Image source:

Yeah, there is some force which pulls things down. Now, we know it as gravity!   *wink wink*

~Ritesh Agarwal,

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Which Calcutta street snack can go global?

Image Source:

Jhaalmuri and Puchka, sold on the streets of Calcutta, have the potential to go global. However, sophisticated urbane countries (read UK, USA, blah blah) may try to make the process of preparing them more decent-looking and less cringe-y, by introducing machines and eliminating humans. But that would spoil the charm of these snacks. Imagine Puchka-selling without the usual dipping of the sweaty hands into the 'paani'?  Hygiene can go for toss. Puchkas and jhaalmuris look like puchkas and jhaalmuris only when there is dust, dirt and sweat involved. Period.

~Dirtily yours
Ritesh Agarwal

By the way, ‘Puchka’ is the local Calcuttan parlance for ‘golgappa’ or ‘paanipuri’. ‘Jhaalmuri’ is the spicier and less syrupy version of ‘bhelpuri’.

My all-time favorite TV show

Image source:

My all-time favourite TV show is 'Small Wonder' and I don't think any other show in the future, near or far, can eclipse the warm memories lent by that human-robot sci-emo saga. I still sneak into it sometimes on YouTube. But I have realised that there is a huge difference between watching it alone on a stupid laptop and watching it with family on the loveable idiot box. Wish, it stages a comeback on TV. That would be like a walk back to my high school days.

One more show that is embedded in my heart is 'Shreeman Shrimati'. It was one of the most loved comedy shows on Indian telly simply because of the obsessively endearing characters like 'Keshav Kulkarni', 'Prema Shalini' and 'Dilruba'. During those days, it used to feature at 8 pm on Tuesdays and I would run out of my maths tuition to get home before 8.

At the start of the class, I would make my best puppy-face and tell my Sir,

"Sir aaj Tuesday hai. Please leave me by 7.45'.

And he would be like 'Oh you crazy little maniac' and chuckle.

WONDERfully yours,
Shreeman Ritesh Agarwal

PS- Which TV show from your growing-up years do you wish to watch again?

Which is the worst Bollywood film of 2013?

Image Source:

Films like the time-warped 'Ishkq in Paris' or Sajid Khan's 'Himmatwala' were expected to be duds. They shouldn't be exactly dubbed as failures since they lived up to their promise fabulously. Same is true for 'Grand Masti' that staggered into cinema halls somehow, riding on the backs of the now-defunct actors Vivek and Aftaab. On a personal note, it's mournful that my namesake, who has had a pretty decent run in the industry, was a part of that salacious so-called film.

Films like 'Besharam' and 'Ghanchakkar' were the real disappointments since they were spearheaded by the Kapoors and Balans, and audience has some 'real' expectations from them. But the biggest dud (the epic fail) was 'Chennai Express'. Sure, it chugged its way past '3 Idiots'. But the way it was marketed, people would think that SRK was offering free pizza with cocktail. Sadly, the marketing buzz was a chimera, and he threw poop at us in the name of an entertainer. O or maybe, even a poop would taste better.

PS- Hoping that SRK-obsessed readers don't tear me to pieces. I do like him, but the quality of films he is churning these days make me cringe.

~Ritesh Agarwal

PPS- So guys, what is your take on Bolly’s worst this year?

Who is your favourite cricket commentator


There are quite a few commentators who should be lauded for making cricket an engaging affair even when there is sloppy cricket being played around. Harsha Bhogle comes as a great package with very strong views, a touch of wit and that right balance between being diplomatic and being outspoken. Unlike Gavaskar who usually lets his personal ire come in the way, Harsha is admirably impassive. Regardless of the position of team India, he always presents a smiling face which often makes up for the lack of one on guys like Gambhir and Dhoni.

Navjot Singh Sindhu may have been lambasted for his over-the-top commentary but you can't help but admire the oratory skills of this man. Besides, with the encyclopaedic number of quotes and maxims that he has, I bet one Mr. Shakespeare would be turning in his grave, feeling a tad insecure about the future of his legacy.

And of course, who can forget what Tony Greig did during those twin Sharjah innings of Tendulkar. Clearly, Tendulkar wasn't the only man on fire that day.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Guardian Angels Review: Why Rohit Gore is an intelligent author

Year 2053:

I peer through my glasses and find my 68-year old eyes a lot less reliable than I had hoped for. But my grandchildren Rahel and Vaarish are there unmistakably, sitting uptight on the sofa and fiddling with a couple of gadgets. I call them to my side.

“When was the last time you read a book, dear,” I asked.

“We have thousands of books in our tablet, grandpa,” Rahel responded innocently.

“But have you even read fifty out of them,” I smiled. “Let me tell you about a book which I had read when I was young,” I continued meditatively. “Titled as ‘The Guardian Angels’, it was penned by one Rohit Gore and is now no less than a classic.”

My words piqued their interest and both the kids lent me their fullest attention.

“It was one of the best novels I had read that year. Though the story itself was intelligently plotted, it was the brilliance of the author which got me impressed. The way he narrated it made the tale an arresting one. I also admired the usage of words and the impeccable vocabulary-“

“What’s the meaning of impeccable,” little Rahel interrupted.

I chuckled. “You kids don’t read books these days. No wonder, your vocabulary is weak. Impeccable, my dear, means something which is perfect or flawless.”

“Oh,” she made her eyes big.

“So what was the story about, grandpa,” Vaarish quizzed me next.

“Ah, some say it was a love story. Some say it was a tale of unbroken friendship. I find it hard to bracket it into a particular genre. It was about two people Aditya and Radha. They were friends, actually more than friends. Perhaps lovers, perhaps more than just lovers. They were poles apart in their lifestyle and thinking. But they were always there for each other, like a guardian angel.” I sighed with a faraway look in my eyes.

“Did you buy that book grandpa,” Vaarish flicked a question I wasn’t expecting.

“I didn’t buy the book, though I recommended it to most of my friends and fellow bloggers. It was published by Grapevine, which as you know, is one of the top publishing houses of India. At Rs 125, this book was a steal.”

“So, did you steal that book, grandpa,” Rahel interrogated in her innocent way.

I laughed aloud.

“Haha, no dear, not in the literal sense. But I got a free copy from the author himself. Being a young author, Rohit was anxious and curious about how the book is received by critics. So, he sent me a copy and requested me to review it. And you know what,” I flashed a wicked grin. “I loved to hoard good books and this one had an enticing cover pic. So, I also requested ‘The Tales Pensieve’ to send me a copy.”

“You mean ‘The Tales Pensieve’ which is headed by Debdutta S. Sahay?” Vaarish nearly stood up in excitement.

“Yes, that’s the one,”

“OMG, we have done a small project on that company. ‘The Tales Pensieve’ is now one of the biggest Indian platforms for book lovers.”

“Why don’t we sign up for it Vaarish bhaiya,” Rahel suggested.

“Excellent idea,” he murmured assent. “I have the link saved in my phone. See, it’s

“By the way, grandpa, so do you still have that book? Can we see it,” Vaarish went on.

“Yes, I have both the copies. I actually treasure them. During those days, I even studied the language and narrative style of the author in details. You shall find my penciled marks on almost every single page.”

I got up, strode into my room. The little ones followed me excitedly. Rummaging my shelf, I pulled out the two copies of the book and handed them a piece.

“Wow, what a cover,” Rahel exulted. 


She eagerly opened it and flicked through a couple of pages. I spotted my own handwriting there below the acknowledgement section. “Ah look, I had scribbled my view with a pencil after I read the book,” I pointed with an air of wisdom and pride.

She read eagerly- my own words written in 2013 being read by my grandchild in 2053-

Rohit Gore has an excellent command over language, narrative and vocabulary. There is a flow to his writing which sets him apart as one of the most promising young authors. The parallel sub-plot where he highlights the menace of Huntington’s Disease is also praiseworthy. I shall rate this book 4 out of 5.”

Both Rahel and Vaarish, like two children who had rediscovered their lost toys, got eager to read. But sitting through a volume of 328 pages would be an uphill task for the young teenagers. So, like their own Guardian Angel, I came to their rescue, leaned back on my chair and started reading to them...

~Ritesh Agarwal


Problem of plenty- A blogger’s dilemma

Courtesy: Google Images

Currently, there are so many potential blog posts buzzing in my mind. Millions (no, make it thousands) of words are flying inside and need to be evacuated urgently. One blog is already sitting pretty in my laptop folder, waiting to get uploaded.

The dilemma is that if I pen all those blog posts together, the reputation of my blog would get diluted. You guys would say, ‘ye ladka toh roz roz blog karta hai’   :/

But presently, my mind is heavy with all these potential posts weighing it down. I need to, after all, eject them and do away with the clutter. So, get ready for a spamathon. Feel free to unfollow me    :/

~Ritesh Agarwal

Monday, October 14, 2013

Gravity 3D Review: Movie of a lifetime

Movie: Gravity 3D
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Genre: Science Fiction

My rating: 4.7 out of 5

My Review:

Last evening, on a rain-disturbed Navami day in Kolkata, I headed for this Hollywood science fiction. I had read some positive reviews about the film in newspapers but I wasn't prepared for the impossibly great spectacle which was in store for me. 

'Gravity' 3D is an astronomical film, an unearthly one in both literal and figurative ways. It is a movie of a lifetime. No wait, is this a movie? For the entire duration of the film, you feel like you have been placed in space where you float with Bullock and banter with Clooney. 

Ever since I stepped out of the hall, I am troubling myself with the question that how the hell did they make this film? I mean seriously, there is no scene of the Earth, except for 2 mins in the climax. 

Perhaps, only one man on the planet could have made this possible. Alfonso Cuaron-the Mexican guy who made 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' which, in my opinion, is the most well-made instalment in the 8-film franchise. The entry scene of the dementors in the train compartment is iconic in itself. The dribble of icy beads over the misty panes of the window and the cold silence of the dementor's breath- it was a sheer visual spectacle. 

'Gravity' has now increased my respect for Alfonso to stratospheric levels (even Jupiter's gravity wont be able to pull it down, mind it). 

When you are watching this film, you are actually engaging in an experience which you will never be able to discover elsewhere, unless you intend to become an astronaut and rocket off into space. 

It is also a film that truly deserves the 3D technology which has appeared quite inane in some of the recent and vacuous flicks. It is a film that will give you a scare as well as adrenaline. 

During the interval, my friend Jagrut googled for the movie's review and told me that Fox News has hailed it by citing that no such movie has been made before. I second that. And I am sure, you will third that once you watch this movie. 

Just in case, you end up not watching it, you will be very unfortunate.....really really unfortunate.... 

PS- If you do watch it, based on my recommendation, kindly leave your comments below. I will like you to pile up praises on me.

-Ritesh Agarwal

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Photography: The other side of Durga Puja

Durga Puja 2013

~Ritesh Agarwal

Ambi Pur Mini Vent Clip Review: Pros and Cons and some melodrama

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Get Ambi Pur Vent Clip for Car
(Ting ting ti ting)

When the courier-wala violently rang my door bell and appeared in a state of urgency (as if his life depended on making me sign the parcel), I grabbed it out of him and bid him a chagrined goodbye (much to his relief).

When some fluffy and heavily-wrapped parcel arrives at my place these days, my entire family congregates in excited anticipation, with a beacon of hope in their eyes and with a fervent prayer-‘Kaash is baar book na ho’ (hoping it’s not another book this time).

So, on unfurling the wrapper, when my mom discovered that it was some special (and sophisticated-looking) thing, she leapt in delight and began to run around the house. It was the Mini Vent Car Clip by Ambi Pur. The company, in association with IndiBlogger, was generously giving free samples to fortunate bloggers like me (one of the many perks of being an IndiBlogger member) and, like all my fellow blogging mates, I was greedy enough to apply for it. *evil laugh in the background*

So, when the package was satisfactorily torn apart (to pieces), in my hand smiled this small bottle of Vent Clip which I upheld high in the air for everyone to admire with starry eyes.

Something told me inside that ‘Ritesh, now that you have got a car vent clip, you will need to buy a car.’

It filled me with a twinge of guilt and defeat. ‘Oh I don’t have a car’. Should I mail Renie Revin (the man behind IndiBlogger) and tell him to send me a car so that I can review the clip?

Oh, I wanted to. And I was about to. But the tiny bit of sense that was left in me warned ‘If you send such a weird mail na, then he will kick you out of the forum’  :O  

So, I picked up my cell (Oh I recently got a smartPhone you know) and called up my friend who had also applied for the clip and who also hasn’t got a car.

She told me that since she cannot buy a car right now (neither can I), she has hung the clip inside her washroom where it is giving out a soft and pleasant odour.

I intend to do the same, unless someone amongst you (yes, including ‘you’ my dear reader) is rich and benevolent enough to gift your poor friend a luxury car (a small one will do. You see I’m not gunning for a BMW, though if you have a ‘bada dil’ I won’t refuse you  :/  )

Speaking from my perception about the product (I pride myself on my power of judgment, btw) and on the basis of several interviews with which I have grilled my friends and acquaintances, here are the pros and cons of this clip:

-          It is easy to fit inside your car and is user-friendly
-          It is light in weight, easy to carry and packaged well in a transparent bottle
-          It is not expensive and can be purchased for just around Rs 200 (that’s not much since you are already shelling out double that amount for 2-hours of a crappy Bollywood cinema these days)
-          The mini vent clip lasts for around a month (or more) quite easily and comes as a ‘paisa vasool’ thing
-          It is deliciously fragrant and proves itself to be a reliable comfort during the tediously long road journeys and while negotiating those silly traffics
-          It is available in several different aromas
-          It can be given as a gift. It is rich in looks but doesn’t cost you much. So, a win-win situation, woooo   :D

-          On the downside, you need to have a car to get the best use out of it. So, if you are buying it, you will have to shell out around 4-5 lakhs to buy a car as well
-           Some people like Voldemort may not be able to smell it (but then, he already nose that)

PS- I asked my elder sister Sheetal Didi to take my clip (since they have a car), but she told me that they already have a stock of Ambi Pur car clips at their place).
Guess, I will have to wait till the day some kind-hearted Messiah gifts me a car    L

[The post is actually a rainbow of my views and emotions, with its usual dollops of melodrama. I hope you enjoyed reading it. By the way, it has been penned for an IndiBlogger Contest by Ambi Pur Mini VentClip.]

~Ritesh Agarwal

Feel free to send me a car this ‘Diwali’ and win a ‘dinner with Ritesh’ contest. Hurry, offer lasts till 31.12.eternity.     

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Horror story: Running away from the thing

Courtesy: Google Image

It was a dream or so I thought. I was sprinting through the dense, dark woods, running away from something I didn’t know what. Deep down, I knew I was dreaming. Yet I could feel beads of sweat all over my face.

My feet were creating a furore as they ruffled the dry leaves. Darkness was frightening, but not as much as the serenity which prevailed. I wanted to stop, to take rest and to let my heart catch up with my breath. But I dare not. Coz I knew something was after me. No, I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t hear it either. It was just a premonition, a feel, a hunch. The air was thick with this premonition. I had to keep running though I knew that my legs were tiring out and I feared that they may succumb soon.

I was scared, really scared. This thing, whatever it was, would hurt me. I needed to run, run till I could find someone to share my fear with. Then we could run together and hope that the thing would get to the other person first.

But alas, nobody was in sight. The woods were desolate, just like the full moon which shone above. For a moment, its company offered respite, even hope. But then cloud swallowed it and I turned mad again.

I ran further and deeper into the forest. I had lost sense of the time a long ago. It was simply the fear of turning insane which was keeping me sane.

But then they appeared before me.

They were smiling in a cold way. I thought I recognized them.

Yes, they were my family.

I glided towards them. They welcomed me home. We slipped into our graves. It was then that they told me about the thing. They said that they fear it too, but without letting anybody know. That thing I was running from- it is called ‘human’.

My sleep broke. I told you I was dreaming. I knew it all along. My pillow was sodden with my warm sweat. The mirror in front of me shone. I saw my reflection. I was the human.

~Ritesh Agarwal

Saturday, October 5, 2013

An open letter to Renie Revin: Is IndiBlogger on the decline?

Top post on, the community of Indian Bloggers

Dear Renie,

Firstly, let me make it absolutely clear that I am in complete love with this forum and the entire team of IndiBlogger. The near 3-year association which I have enjoyed with IndiBlogger and with the fellow co-bloggers has helped me grow as a writer and has lifted me out of my gloomy personal malaise on several occasions. So much so that, I consider everybody out here as a part of my extended family and an essential ingredient of my social life.

So, it is with a sincere filial concern that I pen this letter to bring a vital point to your notice. One of the major points of discussion in my recent rendezvous with some fellow bloggers was the stark decline of IndiBlogger. Prima facie, this blogging forum has grown over the years and is the undisputable king of blogging networks in India. However, of late, it has permitted itself to get corporatized. It is an act which may have strengthened and cemented the organization’s hold as a powerhouse entity, but it has eroded the element of personal touch for which it became so beloved in the first place.

This is evident from a chain of trifle events. The responses to complaints/requests are not quick anymore, but have got more languid with that element of corporate formality kicking in.  The prizes and hampers are not being dispatched immediately and there is a lapse on the part of IndiBlogger to give out a personal intimation to bloggers about the same. As far as winnings are concerned, there is this shadow of uncertainty in every blogger’s mind. We all know that the hampers shall arrive, but nobody knows when exactly.

Some fellow bloggers also pointed out how the threads and chats are being dominated by just a few popular faces. This is in stark contrast to the bygone era when the involvement in such threads was much more universal.

Then there is the ‘book review’ section where the efficacy of the team has got compromised. A number of bloggers had applied to review certain books. But they were not intimated about whether or not they had been chosen to review the book. Even after several weeks, the particular segment says, ‘You have applied to review this book’, with no hint whatsoever as to whether the application still holds or has it got expired.

One of the major blunders (I’m using the word ‘blunder’ for lack of a better word) made by IndiBlogger was the way in which the Harper Collins’ ‘Get Published’ contest was handled. The hushed announcement of winners, the absence of transparency and the pruning down of winners from the promised 25 to just 10 irked nearly all the participants. Again, it was a sign that IndiBlogger was allowing the corporate giants to dictate the proceedings. This is certainly not in congruity with the motto and objective of IndiBlogger which, as such, is to promote blogging and to nourish the amateur (and unpublished) writers.

So, when IndiBlogger recently announced its IBL award thingy, several bloggers remained unenthusiastic about the program for they felt (may be wrongly so) that the awards may be governed by the popularity of bloggers, and not necessarily on the merit factor.

Overall, though IndiBlogger has been going great guns, it is becoming more of a corporate guardian than the personal friend it once was. Here I wish and hope that you will see to this matter and ensure that we have that good, old friend back with us.

Yours faithfully (and always so)
Ritesh Agarwal

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

140 character story- Freedom

Courtesy:Google Images





Today, the man designs his own coffin. Gets freedom after 25 years.

Yet, dies within.

Today…. Tendulkar retires

Share please

How many stars?