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Santanu's Blog Page

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Growth of Blogging

Here is an article which might be of interest to most bloggers.

Reuters reports in today’s edition : As Corporate America wades into the burgeoning world of Internet Web logs, companies are being warned they could face legal hazards when employees are let loose in the free-wheeling blogosphere.

Apart from the main story, what also caught my attention was the information that an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 new blogs are created each day!

Now, that’s news to me!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Professionally speaking

As the project reaches completion of construction and commencement of commissioning, the pressures keep mounting, the days seem to get shorter and sleeping hours get stripped to the bare essentials. I am managing at 5 hours of sleep right now. The D-day is continuously creeping closer and with each passing day adding to the adrenalin levels. Amidst the frenzied activities, we notice one or two colleagues fall sick as the bodies fail to cope with the stresses.

This is life in construction projects. It happens without fail, every time, everywhere in the world. Almost all construction projects have firm ‘handing-over’ dates with financial implications on time slippages. The slippages of time during conception, engineering and supply have to be compensated somewhere. So it is passed down the line and therefore, it is the construction guys in the field who undertake penance for the sins of their office based brothers committed months back. The result is 18 hours of sweat per day. It is often more, but I am talking of averages here.

There is also the indescribable disappointment of completing a tough task in next to no time and being told that it was scheduled for completion 4 days back. Add to it the intangible tension from the constant awareness that one mistake due to hurry could cost numerous lives. Need I add that more often than not, construction sites are located miles away from civilization, with minimal facilities?

Of course, there is the brighter side as well. We are never bored - never ever bored. The moment a place seems stale, off we go to a new site, a new beginning, new colleagues, new residence - in short a new world under a new sky! And with each transfer we leave behind a very very visible accomplishment – a sports stadium or a hydroelectric dam, a steel plant or any other industry you want, a sky scraper or as in my case, a unique belt conveyor!

OK, you are bored to death and wondering why on earth am I posting this today. Firstly, my boss is off on sick leave for a week starting today, passing on the load to dutifully yours truly. Secondly, my lunch pack is delayed and I therefore have spare time to blog.

Of course, since the lunch is usually on time, this also means that blogs in the near future will not be narrative, and will be limited to clippings and photo posts. Again, this is just a pessimistic prediction!

Monday, August 22, 2005


Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's
erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun
into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask "How are you?"
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?

You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see her sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say,"Hi!"

You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

When you run so fast
to get somewhere
You miss half the fun
of getting there.
When you worry and hurry
through your day,
It is like an unopened gift....
Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

~ Anon

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Bangla Blasts

A blog from Bangladesh would be absurd without a mention of the blasts that rocked the nation this week.

On the 17th of August, 400 bombs blasted almost simultaneously across Bangladesh, creating chaos, panic and bringing the entire country to a standstill. All the incidents happened between 11:00 and 11:30 am and covered every district and major town across the country. The locations were mostly government offices and courts. But when the casualty count was assessed, the reports were unbelievable. Only 2 fatalities and 50 injured! This makes one wonder why anyone would have taken the trouble to organize such a major terrorist act yet inflict minimal damage. When compared to other terrorist acts of far lesser magnitude, it seems clear that here the intent was markedly different. The intent was not to cause death among fellow countrymen, but to instil fear in the government. A fear of the immense organisational skill of the perpetrators. A signal that had they so desired, the nation would have witnessed as bloodbath. A showcase of absolute failure of state intelligence, catching the government in the wrong foot.

Of course, it is also possible that the persons behind the act had no access to firearms of greater magnitude. It is after all a rather poor nation. Also, even firecrackers are prohibited in this country. I may add here that compared to the US, personal possession of guns are almost impossible due to very strict rules in these parts of the world.

I read a few editorials yesterday in this regard. One feared that it is a signal to bigger networks about the existence of an efficient set-up that only needs financial support to deliver with deadly accuracy. Others wondered on similar unlikely themes. All agreed that the development is alarming. While political assassinations and businessman kidnappings are common here, nothing remotely close in scale to this has ever happened in this country.

Now that the West has finally woken up to the evils of terrorism after getting serious wounds themselves, they would perhaps take note of the spillage and spread of the breeding grounds and contemplate on means and methods of containment, if not correction. Of course, if, and only if, their political compulsions permit!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Sweet Reward

Well all the hard work did pay off!

Subsequent to my post on energization on the 13th, we eventually managed to get the transformer humming on the 14th. That is a big achievement, a milestone for the project. But there is no time to rest or sit on our laurels. We need to take one hurdle at a time till the final hurdle is crossed. I don't even want to think about it. Too superstitious perhaps, but whenever I think of something, it never materialises.
Every tense moment has its funny side. This was no exception. With all the tension for getting electricity upto the transformer, I completely forgot that it is an occasion for VIPs to come and inaugurate. So when the electric fellows finished their wire tamperings, everyone started to look for someone to press the button. There was a sudden burst of commotion and confusion. And suddenly all eyes were on me as I am the in-charge and therefore should have arranged! So I did the best thing possible in this situation. I boldly walked up to the panel and pressed the button. With a couple of cameras flashing and ten pairs of hands clapping, I enjoyed my moment of glory. Also hid my folly.
Sweet are the rewards of hard work. Sweeter still is the taste of successfully hiding your slip. :-)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Meme Time

I had been noticing this tagging thing for some time. Thought I was lucky so far. And now that most of the bloggers I read have already been tagged, I suddenly find myself tagged by NYPC!

So, here I go:

10 Years ago today:
Working as a front line supervisor in a Cement Plant construction Project in Madhya Pradesh, Central India. Counting my savings, looking for a suitable bride, drinking like a fish, smoking like a locomotive, dreaming like a tycoon.

5 Years ago today:
Married, daughter 1 year old. Working as officer-in-charge for a belt conveying system construction / installation / commissioning package in a major Steel Plant in Karnataka, South India. Proud owner of a sleek mobike. Living in sprawling independent single storey house with garden – on rent, of course.

1 Year ago today:
Located in Kolkata in eastern India in transit to Bangladesh. Staying in a hotel room for 40 days with family and 4 suitcases of baggage. All furniture and belongings generated over the years either packed off to a dingy moist dark room in in-laws palatial bangalow, or sold off dirt cheap. The mobike and car included in the latter list.

Achieved energisation of Main Panels for my current project. Intend to blog the incident as it was a milestone. Also, it was Independence Day in India. Sadly not celebrated here in Bangladesh.

Will be same as any other day. Already blogged the details in a recent post.

Snacks I enjoy:
1. Potato Chips (or any other chips will do)
2. Fish Chops / fries (The way only she prepares it)
3. Onion Pakoras, Samosas and Jalebees
4. All sorts of biscuits with black tea.
5. Chaats, Pani Puris, Bhel / Batata Puris

Bands that I know the Lyrics to Most of Their Songs:
1. Kishore Kumar
2. Manna Dey
3. Md. Rafi
4. Stevie Wonder
5. Cliff Richard

5 Things I would do with $100,000,000:
1. Donate half of it to charity – especially for upbringing and education of poor children in third world nations.
2. Buy 2 spacious bungalows. One in the Himalayan valley near Kathmandu in Nepal. The other overlooking the sea near Goa.
3. Deposit most of the rest into a bank and live off the interest.
4. Undertake a year long journey around the world in style and comfort.
5. Leave behind enough for our daughter in case she desires to go to the moon.

Locations I would Love to Run Away To:
1. US
2. UK
3. Switzerland
4. India
5. Hawaii

Bad Habits I have:
1. Short Temper
2. Procrastination
3. Extravagance in money matters
4. No future planning (too happy-go-lucky)
5. Poor Health conscienceness

5 Things I like doing:
1. Chatting
2. Laughing
3. Sleeping
4. Spending time with family
5. Day dreaming

5 Things I would Never Wear:
1. Womens clothes
2. Body hugging shirts
3. Lycra
4. Anything in Red
5. Anything Freddie Mercury ever wore

TV Shows I like:
1. Any sports channel
2. Any musical channel
3. Anything on Discovery
4. Any cartoon show
5. All Comedies

5 Movies I like:
1. Anything with Action
2. Anything with Laughter
3. Anything with a bit of theme
4. ‘First Blood’
5. ‘It’s a Mad Mad Mad World’

5 Famous People I would like to meet:
1. Amitabh Bachchan
2. Sylvester Stallone
3. Maradona
4. Abdul Kalam
5. Nelson Mandela

5 Biggest Joys at the Moment:
1. Watching my daughter grow.
2. Deepening dependence and understanding as the marriage matures.
3. Possibility of buying my own apartment at last!
4. Dollars from a foreign land job posting.
5. Successfully executing a challenging project.

5 Favorite Toys:
1. (CENSORED) ;-)
2. My Mobile
3. My PC
4. My Mobike & Car (before I sold them)
5. My Kid

People to Tag:
Whoever reads this post and hasn't been tagged before!!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Happy Independence Day

Wishing all proud Indians a Happy 15th of August on the completion of 58 years of Independence!

Saturday, August 13, 2005


OK, stagnant stinks!
So I changed my profile picture from the dumb excavator to my official self. This perhaps looks dumber, but at least the change is pleasant! :-)
Some subtle changes in the layout too... a new addition is the Blogroll on the right sidebar. I noticed it in Carol's and found it convenient. It is easy to notice new posts in the regular blogs I read. It is also very easy to add someone to your roll without fidgeting with the htmls.
Got a few toys for narcissistic games as well. These tell me who links to me, how many have read me and easy ways to link me! Since I am not a regular blogger and tend to hibernate often, I don't have too many regulars to my page. A couple of old faithfuls, who tolerate the crap I dish out irregularly. I don't read much either, due to time limitations and so my blogroll is pretty short.
Recently, my wife read a couple of my posts and realised that there was an aspect of me that she was not too familiar with. She even developed some degree of interest in getting her own blog page. It would really be a great vent for a working lady who is imprisoned at home for the last year or so for no fault of hers. That is, if you consider her stubborn stand to be with me in this remote posting as a 'no-fault'! Unfortunately, the internet connectivity is very poor in the place we live in. Bangladesh is developing fast, but not fast enough. We might be gone from here by the time they improve connectivity. The world is poorer without her blogs!
Talking of change, I had my first 'Diet Coke' yesterday. In other words, I accepted that things are not quite in shape and its time to change ;-)

This Day!

Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!
Look to this Day!
For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
In its brief course lie all the
Verities and Realities of your Existence.
The Bliss of Growth,
The Glory of Action,
The Splendor of Beauty;
For Yesterday is but a Dream,
And To-morrow is only a Vision;
But To-day well lived makes
Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness,
And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
Look well therefore to this Day!
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!
- Kalidasa (~350AD)
Today is an important day for me and for the project.
As in any Industrial Construction Project, energisation is a milestone.
This dawn I pray for luck.
Let us see what the day has in store for me!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Prince of Kolkata

The knives were out for India's most successful cricket captain ever. He has been going through a lean patch for quite some time now, although his laboured last innings has given him some breathing space. The public and the pundits have a very short memory and the achievements of this stylish, dynamic cricketer from India's football state has been fast forgotton. The media has fuelled the fire. His arrogance, agression and audacity have also alienated him from the respectable patrons of the gentleman's game.
But the statistians have to admit that he is among the highest run getters in the limited version of the game. The purists will nod that what he lacked in technique, he more than compensated in timing. The frenzied fans of the game will accept that Tendulkar's Toronto triumph card was Saurav Ganguly's magic arm. And the boisterous Aussies, who have dominated the game so absolutely with their all-round abilities will grudgingly mumble that one man squared his shoulders, stood up to them and took them to task when it came to their infamous psychological warfare. The Maharaja! The Captain of the Indian Cricket team that beat the World champs in home soil.
I was pleasantly surprised when I ran into an article recently that actually accepted attributes that others didn't want to even think about.
Read on.... about a man I admire.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Just another day

My typical day starts at 5:45 with the polyphonic alarm from my wife's new mobile. This is followed by the traditional bed-tea - a bengali die-hard habit - and a long, long chat till it's suddenly 6:30 am. Do-or-die rush time! 7:00 sharp, I leave for site. That's 40 kms by road in the common staff van and then crossing a river by boat. This is followed by a 10 minute brisk walk across the project site to my office. By then, it's 8:00 am, profusely sweating, and the tension has just begun!
The hectic day has its quota of sun, rain, slipping schedules and flared tempers. All this is part and parcel of life in construction sites. What is different here is the 90% humidity! It saps your energy in no time. The cool confines of the air conditioned office are too tempting to resist by the time it is 10:30 am. Thanking God for giving pending paperwork, the office boy for the black tea, and the computer wizards of the world for e-mail, I am in a blissful state for the next hour or so, till site round #2 is overdue. Lunch at 1 pm invariably coincides with bosses queries. The angry growls from the bowels do not get pacified before the next half hour. The afternoons are relatively slow and pick pace only by 4:00. Time flies by till it gets dark at around 7:00 and I return for an evening snack in my cool, cozy office. While the office-boy searches for space to keep the plate on my paper-strewn desk, I go through the rest of the days e-mails. This is followed by a bit of browsing/surfing on stolen time, followed by more paperwork.
At 9:30 pm, we are finally ready to return. Energy finished. Work unfinished. Legs of lead. On heavy, steel toed safety shoes. The return walk takes close to twice the time of the brisk morning walk. The boat, perfectly punctual in the mornings, never seems to be available in the late evenings. The van trip is mercifully comfortable with the air-conditioning at full blast and eyes tight shut. Occasionally woken by blaring horns, we finally hit home at close to 11:00 pm.
If the kid has fallen asleep, it's recap time for both of us, sharing the days events, big or small as we both unwind after the tiring day. If Kitu is still awake, it's play time and previously untapped wells of energy sprout from within me as we chat, joke, jostle and finally dine. Bedtime is post midnight.
That's a typical day these days. And it's a six and a half day week. You might wonder that with such a tiring schedule and dreary life, what it is that drives me on, makes me look forward to the next morning!
It's the special cup of tea she prepares - the shokaler cha - and the ever-so-brief early morning chat - the golpo - that makes my day and makes me look forward to more, and more!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Brat Pack

No prizes for guessing the brains behind this mischievous gang.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Watch them grow!

It needed a pic for me to realise that skinny little Kitu had traces of a double chin! Need to spend more time with the kid!!