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  1. Summer holidays: projects, Kolkata visit and shopping

    July 27, 2014 by Sunit Nandi

    So friends, I’m back again with a new post. It has been quite a while since I wrote on my blog. In this post I’ll be describing how I spent my summer vacation. So here it goes.

    My 4th semester exams got over and what followed was a summer break. I was finally free to do whatever I liked to and wanted to. The first thing me and my parents did was offer a special puja for my dad at the Navagraha temple. It was a really long process that lasted for two hours. On another day, we went out for shopping to the city and had our lunch at Chinatown. The most surprising part about this is that, I met Loya ma’am (Mrs. Loya Agarwala, a student counselor serving various institutions) there. I had a long chat with her. My friends from Faculty H S School would be very happy to know about this.

    In the meanwhile, I joined two projects at IIT Guwahati. The first one is related to speech processing while the second is a student tracking system based on RFID tags and ZigBee PAN backend. Both are still underway, even though my holidays are over now. The speech processing project required me to get my BeagleBone Black ready with Archlinux ARM, ALSA, XFCE desktop and Linphone to act as a IP-phone. I’m using an audio cape extension on the BBB get audio-in and audio-out to it. Hopefully, things should be getting into shape soon. Here are a few photos I shot while setting it up:

    IMG_20140620_121209 IMG_20140620_122226 IMG_20140620_122239 IMG_20140620_123252

    I’ll be writing several articles on the BeagleBone Black on Techno FAQ as soon as I get some free time.

    The other project is still on paper and will take much longer to get a physical implementation.

    I spent the first two weeks with parents in Kolkata. We were there for some family errands. But during this time, I had the opportunity to visit the Birla Planetarium and also do some shopping.


    Also, behold the other random photos.

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    Some pictures of our new flat at New Town, Rajarhat:

    IMG_20140704_182429 IMG_20140704_182924 IMG_20140704_184331

    I spent 3 days at Digha, my hometown, and so was able to see the ulta (reverse) – Rathyatra. Here are some pics.

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    After returning back to Guwahati, I finally had my new workstation ready (a custom-built HP Z420), which I’ll be using for video editing, graphics, app and OS development and gaming.

    IMG_20140612_124924 IMG_20140612_195237 IMG_20140710_155716

    The specs are:

    • 8-core Intel Xeon E5 @ 3.6 Ghz
    • 4×8 GB DDR3 ECC 1600 MHz RAM
    • AMD FirePro W7000 GPU (4x DisplayPort interfaces)
    • Intel C602 chipset
    • 1 TB 7200 RPM Toshiba HDD
    • 4x USB 3.0 ports, 4x USB 2.0 ports
    • FireWire port
    • 1 Gbps gigabit ethernet port
    • DVD-RAM / DVD+-RW drive
    • HP EliteDisplay E221
    • HP USB keyboard and mouse

    I got my workstation ready with Windows 8.1 Pro and Manjaro Linux. Right now, I’m looking for a good secondary HDD on which I can try out Hackintosh.

    With all this, the holidays came to an end. The 5th semester has started and classes have begun with full steam.

    Right now I’m playing around with PC-BSD. It is kind of hipster approach to learning Unix.


    I’ll be writing again soon with more stuff on my blog and interesting articles on Techno FAQ. Please stay tuned.

    Take care.

  2. Sajna Aa Bhi Jaa (Teaser) – DJ Vivek

    May 18, 2014 by Sunit Nandi

    I came across this wonderful mix on SoundCloud based on the song “Sajnaa aa bhi jaa”. Kudos to DJ Vivek.

    I am still waiting for the full song, as the teaser leaves me wanting more.

    What do you say?

  3. Wrapping up the 4th semester

    April 13, 2014 by Sunit Nandi

    The 4th semester has been more of staying at home due to illness rather than going to college. And that also meant spending more time with experiments.

    However, the time at college is not unaccounted either and college felt unbearable. I was unable to understand what was being taught in class and half-slept during the lectures and practicals. I felt extremely bad about myself and felt like I was wasting time. On top of that a girl buddy’s boyfriend decided that making my life hell was his top priority because he suffers from insecurity and keeps getting into fights for all sorts of trivial things. Ahh!

    Coming to the tech front, many new things have happened. My BeagleBone Black setup is ready for use and I’ve even got the board housed in an enclosure.




    Very soon, I’ll be getting to active ARM development and also see if I can make interesting electronic circuits.

    On the web, things have been bittersweet. On one hand, my CloudFlare account now has the option of using Railgun to speed up delivery of uncacheable content (all thanks to my webhost). On the other hand, my AdSense account got finally approved after 6 months of wait, only to get click-bombed and disabled a week later (for reasons I’m unsure about). Now, I’m just trying my luck with other ad networks to see if anything else can be done.

    My friend Manohar started his new personal blog very recently where he promises to write about his life and his thoughts. Do follow it at:

    Right now, Rongali Bihu holidays are on. I’m here at home trying to study whatever I can for the upcoming end semester exams from 6th of May so that I don’t perform poorly. 6th of May? Oh well… birthday ruined.

    The 4th semester is finally wrapping up in this manner.

    I will be writing again soon. Till then, take care.

  4. Why is teamwork difficult in India?

    March 23, 2014 by Sunit Nandi

    I have a wonderful friend Bijaya Lakshmi Sarma with whom I often talk a lot. We discuss anything and everything from schooldays to psychology to technology and sometimes even the Indian society. On one day while chatting with her, an idea hit me that I wanted to share with everyone but I cannot explain verbally, so I’ll write it all down.

    If you are an Indian, I hope you are already frustrated with many problems. My fellow Indians have often written numerous articles on social evils, education system, corruption and the like. Today, I’m going to write on something that has never been written on properly before, and that is “teamwork” and how it is related to our existing problems.

    Teamwork is something that is difficult to perform in India, mainly because how our social system is designed. I’ll now be stating my reasons why I feel that way.

    Let me show you the background first.

    We are born as an average Indian baby and grow up under the care of our parents and a few years later we are ready to go to school. At school we first learns that we have to compete with everyone around us in all aspects. Parents often compare their us with other kids and make us feel guilty of not living up to their so called “high expectations”, without which they will not be “respectable” in the society. What we all fail to realize is that being an all-rounder is a myth and we all have our strengths and weaknesses. That every child is special and none is perfect.


    Moving deeper into school life, many of us are often not given a chance to perform in activities and fine arts, just because we failed our qualifying attempt. Same happens to sports. Schools are only interested to train and improve kids who are already good at their activity, because their “reputation” depends on such students. Hence, the mindset of superiority and inferiority starts to build up at an early age. In my opinion, a school should be an incubation zone and not an elimination zone. But more often than not, its the other way round. At school everyone should be given every opportunity to try out every possible activity whether they are good at it or not. After all many skills are gained by experience. But this never really happens.

    Then comes our famous engineering (like IIT-JEE, AIEEE) and medical (NEET) entrance examinations and not to mention, the other exams to join the top arts and commerce colleges. We’re all expected to join a bandwagon and perform “because everyone is doing it” and parents force us too, without even thinking twice what we actually want to do with our lives.


    College is a rather quiet phase in the first half. Since we are un-innovative, lets not expect any fireworks here.

    Then we move on to job placements. There is huge competition in jobs and we all try to get better jobs than our peers and to secure our lives the best way possible.


    Then when we start climbing the job ladder, we Indians have this mindset of trying to make the most of it without giving a second thought to our ethics and our responsibilities as a human being. We put our coworkers in trouble, whenever we can. Some of us take bribes to fill our pockets. We don’t like to work. We look for loopholes to bypass most of the problems without actually solving them. We want instant gratification at any cost and without thinking of the consequences. Getting rich and having power is all what roams free in our minds.


    This gets reflected in our society. We try to make ourselves look better than our fellow citizens by hook or by crook. Moreover, instead of solving a major problem we like to avoid it and shove the blame off to someone else’s shoulders. Unknowingly or knowingly we spend most of out time trying to beat people at their own game or one-upping them, instead of trying to make our own lives better. We also force our children to outperform other children in their studies and activities because “its a matter of name/pride/honour”.

    And this vicious cycle goes on.. to make ourselves honourable while dishonouring others. And that is why our nation doesn’t progress at the pace we expect. Because we have a tendency to drag people down who wish to progress.


    I’m not saying we Indians are not hardworking. We are indeed hardworking, but do not channel our efforts in an appropriate manner.

    So this is the background so far.

    Now I’ll state the reasons why teams don’t go well in India:

    1. Its deeply ingrained in our personality and society that we need to compete with anyone and everyone that we see and to prove that we are better than anyone at whatever they’re good at. envy
    2. We let our honour and pride (read arrogance) overpower our logic and make us blind. arrogance
    3. We follow the beaten track that almost everyone follows. It only hampers our opportunity to create new opportunities and co-exist with others. job
    4. We only think of instant gratification and short term gains.
    5. When made to work in a team, we get deeply involved in jealousy and power struggle with other team members. (See point 1) When problems do not sort out, we tend to act secessionist (like splitting up) and not in a cooperative way.
    6. When we shirk our responsibilities, we make excuses and shift the blame to someone else in the team. Same applies to our mistakes. Painkillers
    7. We do not try to understand the efforts a hardworking team member puts in and also continue to make him/her go through all trouble. And worse, even drag him/her down.
    8. Lastly but most importantly, we force our opinion on others and try to curb their expressions and wishes. We do it on our children and force them to be like us and the cycle goes on. roti

    I know I have listed the extremities of our behaviour. But as long as these will continue we cannot expect to progress. The faster we get out of this cycle, the better it is for us.

    Our future is in our hands. We cannot continue to afford placing our ego above everything else.

  5. Hardware development begins here

    March 5, 2014 by Sunit Nandi

    The first mid-semester exams are over. Things seemed to have settled down. At college, everything is just as any other day, with boring lectures and uneventful moments.

    What really kept me motivated was constant experiments and new ideas. That’s pretty much what keeps me active even at the worst times.

    I learnt a little bit of the Cisco router’s command line and am manage the network interfaces with it, by just random fiddling around when I got bored.

    Then Manjaro Linux 0.8.9 was released with a huge number of bug-fixes and improved hardware support. To add to the great news was that Manjaro now officially supports KDE and 0.8.9 release has an official KDE variant. So, just because I was bored, I installed KDE desktop and the K Display Manager and got rid of XFCE, LXDM and the optional GNOME components. And guess what? KDE actually runs better than what I had expected. The system-wide proxy settings are automatically pulled from the environment variables (set with /etc/profile.d/ script). Also, it would be worth mentioning that the BlueZ 5 bluetooth stack works flawlessly with BlueDevil in KDE. Back then, in XFCE, BlueMan had stopped detecting my laptop’s bluetooth adapter after I upgraded to BlueZ 5 from BlueZ 4. Rest of the features work fine, and I’m very satisfied.

    I got myself an Arduino Mega 2560 R3 microcontroller board so that I can build circuits and DIY (do it yourself) electronics. At present, I’m learning the Arduino code.


    Arduino Mega 2560 R3

    I also ordered‘s Beaglebone Black as I am very curious about single-board PCs.


    Beaglebone Black A6A

    Right now I’m looking for a HDMI-to-DVI/VGA adapter so that I can hook up my old display to it and a externally powered USB hub to attach peripherals to the board. Hoping to get cracking and experimenting in a week or so.

    My workstation, a customised HP Z420, is going to arrive soon. So I have one more reason to be excited.

    Coming to blogging and WordPress, I have noticed an interesting finding. If you are a user of the WordPress HTTPS plugin, uninstall it as soon as possible. This plugin has a poorly written page filter than significantly degrades page loading performance and causes regular timeouts in the admin panel. For a month I was unable to figure out why the admin panel was working poorly on, until I disabled the plugin. Also, its interesting to note that trying to secure the admin panel with HTTPS and serving the site over plain HTTP can be a real pain. I’m not saying it has problems serving pages. What I am trying to say is that, if you are securely connected to the admin panel and are making a new post, any new image or media attached to the post will load from the secure site even when the site is served insecurely. This is an undesired behaviour. In my opinion, WordPress should integrate HTTPS options properly into the GUI so that we do not have to depend on tweaks and third-party plugins to secure the admin panel while serving the site as it is. For now, I stopped using HTTPS, until I find a proper fix.

    Right now, I’m writing my General Proficiency report for college.

    Also, Pyrokinesis, Assam Engineering College’s annual fest is on, and I might be attending it when I’m free.

    So its finally time for me to lift my hands off the keyboard. I’ll be writing again soon. Take care and have fun!

    Till then, enjoy this sandwich. 😉



  6. Starting off with the new year

    February 9, 2014 by Sunit Nandi

    I think many of you may have been wondering where I’ve been for such a long time and why I haven’t written anything. There’s a reason for that which I’ll explain later. But before that, let me tell you what I was up to.

    After the new year celebrations back in my hometown, we returned to Guwahati on 8th of January. Due to the temperature difference between Digha and Guwahati, I caught cold, cough and breathing difficulties. Assam is a few degrees colder than West Bengal, and that’s obviously a no-brainer. I spent a whole week in bed, unable to move or talk properly. As if that wasn’t enough, my digestive system decided to revolt, making me unable to eat anything. There were several visits to the doctor and another week of no activity.

    After the whole illness drama got over, I was too weak to go to college, so I spent my time at home perfecting my coding skills and watching movies. During this time, I got myself a MicroTik RouterBoard RB-751, because I had this sudden urge to study routers and networks. I flashed a couple of firmwares, tested various routing options and attacks in simulation. But then, I felt I wasn’t doing anything practical. So, I tried to do what I wanted to do in the last 3 years: build my own home streaming network. It was successful in the end, and felt like a dream come true. I documented the steps and made a video out of it for TechnoFAQ TV.

    20140123_183148 20140123_195523

    Here is the video:

    In the meanwhile I ordered myself a Cisco Linksys X3500 ADSL2+ home gateway from eBay to replace my ageing DLink DSL-G604T. It was shipped but the courier (Blue Dart) decided to “cache” my shipment and delayed the delivery.

    I began going to college, but classes were a hit or miss. Some were held and some weren’t, but being among classmates again felt wonderful.

    In the beginning of February, my X3500 shipment arrived. I unboxed it and set it up, replacing the DLink and RouterBoard with a single device. It didn’t seem anything special at all, but the performance was epic. My DSL speeds were greater than 9000 Kbps, whereas the DLink would average at around 7000 Kbps. The X3500, being a dual-band N access point, performed better than both the DLink and RouterBoard combined. Now I get pretty good WiFi signal in my bedroom, the garden and toilets (heehee!) too.

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    One day later, Alcheringa 2014 at IIT Guwahati began. I enjoyed the Saturday and Sunday to the fullest with my friends. I won’t be describing the events here as they are widely popular and published in the newspapers.

    This was followed by Saraswati Puja. I spent the whole day at college with friends, hopping from hostel to hostel. Out of compulsion, I had to have the bhog (feast) 4 times at 4 different hostels. After the whole day, I was tired of eating.

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    And the award for the best looking lady goes to:


    Okay, that’s enough, I guess. 😛

    After that classes begin at full steam and labs start.

    I also managed to set up OpenVPN despite being behind a proxy and firewall and was able to route some of my home traffic via Japan just for testing. My Android devices which could not play live streams like ShoutCast before could do now. So its music, music everywhere.


    Also I installed Mac on a non-Apple machine, a.k.a Hackintosh. So far, its pretty good, but the graphics drivers are not properly loaded and the video performance is poor.


    Now, I’ll come to the point where I’ll tell you why I haven’t written anything in a long while. Well, for some reason, the WordPress admin panels on all my hosted blogs were timing out for some reason or the other. After a whole day of troubleshooting alongwith the webhost’s staff yielded nothing in particular about misconfiguration or heavy resource usage, I made the plunge by requesting them to backup, delete, recreate and restore my userspace. We all thought that would not make any difference, but on the contrary WordPress was running stably again and I am now able to blog.

    Before I left for my hometown in December, I made sure static content on my site be delivered from Amazon S3 and CloudFront. After 2 months of testing their service, I realised it was not worth it. CloudFlare serves static content faster than CloudFront, atleast in India. So I rolled back and deleted my S3 buckets.

    SOVIC is an NGO that is based in my college. This NGO runs several child welfare schemes. They requested me to build a website for them, which is now live at

    So, this is what life has been till now.

    I’m waiting for my upcoming new camcorder and a workstation so that I can make awesome videos.

    Till then, take care. I’ll be writing again soon.

  7. New Year at Mandarmoni

    January 16, 2014 by Sunit Nandi

    On the 1st of January, dad’s friend Subhas Pradhan and his wife invited us (me and my parents) over for an outing at Mandarmoni. At 2 PM we leave Digha for Chaulkhola via bus. A few minutes later, the Pradhans arrive in their car and pick us up. Together all of us travel to the Mandarmoni beach and drive down the open shore.


    We roam the wide beach freely in the car. Being a very free area, I made my first advances to drive a car.

    After that, we move to one end of the beach to where a creek flows into the sea. A jeep was stuck in the sand and was sinking. However, no one was interested in dragging the jeep up because the jeep driver was in an altercation with the locals. After observing them for sometime, we left.

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    In the meanwhile mom and aunty (Mrs. Pradhan) are already collecting crabs to take home. The local kids are busy digging and tying crabs for them. After collecting several crabs, they return. At this I argue that creatures should not be killed. After a long debate with them, mom and aunty decide to release them.

    [000237] [000239]

    We drove towards Rose Valley and shot a couple of pics. Then we sat down at a seaside restaurant and ordered tea and snacks. We sat and had long chats.

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    In the evening, we travelled to Digha and sat by the seaside and enjoyed the breeze.

  8. Sankarpur forestmare

    January 2, 2014 by Sunit Nandi

    So my previous post was of a pretty recent adventure. Now, I’ll be narrating you an older adventure that took place in July 2013.

    It is 6 July 2013. A time when the second semester was over, and our family was spending time with relatives at Digha, West Bengal. As usual, it was one of those boring days when we had nothing to do.

    Me and dad travelled to Sankarpur, covering the route partly by bus and partly walking. Sankarpur beach isn’t as popular as Digha or Mandarmoni, so the crowd and rush is absent. However, on that day, there was a huge crowd in the path that connects the road and the beach. The CPI-M (Communist Party of India – Maoist) had gathered a huge rally and its local leaders were addressing the public. After a lot of jostling the people standing around, we reached the beach. On the way we saw lots of fishing boats docked on the bank.


    It was almost evening as the sun was setting. We began to stroll along the beach, watching the clouds making beautiful shapes in the sky. The bright sun and the pretty clouds seemed to be playing hide and seek as it was setting. Looking down at the beach, we saw crabs coming out and going into burrows in the ground. When seen from a distance, crabs on the beach look like flowers growing on the desert.

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    We know that Sankarpur beach area is surrounded on three sides by water and one side by the mainland. So we thought it would be a really nice idea if we walked along the shores and made a round-trip of the beach. We continued to walk until we reached one sharp corner. Taking a right turn, we saw that the beach wasn’t sandy. It was rocky. We took an inner grassy trail. It was distinguishable as a trail only because of footprints and wheel marks of bikes. Slowly and slowly, it began to get dark.

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    Upon walking further, the trail approached a fork, one leading to a pond, and another to a forest. Now, one doesn’t make a round-trip of a beach with a pond. It was a no-brainer to enter the forest. Hence, we entered. But soon enough, the trail was gone. We got afraid. We started finding for trails randomly. But we realised we were lost in the maze of thick vegetation. I was breaking down, almost about to cry and dad was tensed. But we still walked trying to figure out a way to get out. I was having memories of mum, my relatives and my friends. We walked aimlessly for a few moments. It was getting dark. Then dad decided that finding a trail isn’t the solution. We needed to exit the forest. So dad just walked to what seemed like an edge of the vegetation and screamed, “Son, jump!”. I just followed him and jumped.

    I was falling down a small cliff and soon I was ready to hit the ground. So I prepared myself for landing. I landed with a loud thud and dust flew around. My left leg began to ache. My dad signalled me to walk along with him. Finally, we were out of the forest, but still unsure how to reach the road. But luckily, we got back on a trail and began to walk. I was trying very hard to ignore the ache and continue. Then we entered a fishing colony. We asked the fishermen directions to reach the road and then they showed us the way. We travelled though the colony alongside the huts and fish drying fields. In an hour, we made a whole round-trip of the beach area and were back again on the path between the beach and the roadside.

    The ache on my left leg became worse, so we boarded an engine-rickshaw. The rickshaw was crowded with people returning from the party rally. After a while, we reached the roadside, boarded a bus and headed straight to Digha.

    The whole experience was so terrible and I could not sleep properly that night. But I’m happy because I am no longer afraid of entering forests and I also have a tale to recount.

  9. Mandarmoni adventures

    January 1, 2014 by Sunit Nandi

    Life can be really uncertain, and presents you with weird situations when you least expect them. But at the end, they make wonderful memories. Today I’m going to share with you all such a memorable  that took place only two days back.

    Its 30th December 2013. Me and my parents are at Digha, mom’s hometown, in West Bengal. Needless to say, we’re spending time with our extended family and its pretty homely in here. Unfortunately, mom fell ill and we didn’t have the opportunity to spend time at the beach all together. I and dad get bored pretty easily when we have nothing to do. And after lunch, we both got sick of doing nothing, so we decided to go to Mandarmoni beach.

    We left home from Digha at 3 PM and boarded a bus to Chaulkhola. Upon reaching there, we rode an engine rickshaw (don’t confuse this with an auto-rickshaw) and chugged all the way to the Mandarmoni beach. The beach was superb. The shore seemed atleast 800 metres wide (no, I’m not kidding). The place had more cars than people. Apart from private vehicles, there were engine rickshaws, trekkers, jeeps and commercial vehicles who were willing to give you a joyride if you paid for it. Vehicles kept zooming past us, and never in our lives did we see such a wide expanse of landmass where you could drive without putting your hands on the steering wheel. There were people too, enjoying the beach. Some were sitting under the shade, some playing soccer or cricket and some enjoying the sea splashing on them.


    One of my dad’s friends had told him that one could travel from Mandarmoni beach to Tajpur beach by just walking along the shoreline. Dad wanted to verify if it was actually true. So we went up to a fast food stall on the beach and asked him about Tajpur. His reply was, “Rose Valley Hotel is 4 kms from here. From there if you travel another 1 or 2 kms, you will reach Tajpur.”

    So, we decided to walk to Tajpur. The weather was very nice and the wind on my face felt really good. We saw more people having fun and more vehicles driving past us.  People were paragliding on parachutes being dragged by jeeps. Some were driving electric golf carts, dirt bikes and four-wheeled bikes (that made too much jarring noise). When I looked into the sea, I saw women on speedboats engaged in a race. Now I understood why Mamata Banerjee was so intent on making Mandarmoni India’s “second Goa” *cough* *cough*. My dad was talking about transport, connecting the beaches with monorail service and other ideas that would make an impact on West Bengal tourism. Most of it still felt distant though.


    As we walked further, the place became more and more silent, then we could see more of nature and less of people. The erosion of beaches by the sea was so vivid out here. A live coconut tree was upturned and sunk inside the sand with it roots sticking out in the air. Also some “keya” plants (I don’t know what it is called in English) could be seen with their roots sticking out while the soil around them were washed away by the sea. The sea had also attacked some territories and hotels somehow managed to prevent the erosion by putting up barrages of boulders on their interface with the sea.


    All the while we were seeing this, we walked 4 kms without even knowing how quick 45 minutes flew by. Rose Valley resort seemed like a grand entity. The building was palatial and they even had a temple in their premises (yes, seriously!). Hotel Sonar Bangla (no, not the ITC one) and ADB Kanvas resort were just adjacent to them and the surroundings looked posh in the twilight. The glowing pink neon lights reminded me of the beach in GTA Vice City *cough*. The dudes out there seemed to be quite rich. Again more vehicles, parachutes and speedboats…


    And we were approaching the end of Mandarmoni beach. Something didn’t feel right. It was getting too dark to walk back, and even weirder to walk forward. So we stopped at a rickety tea stall just close to ADB Kanvas (what a contrast!), to ask for directions. The stall keeper said there was no direct route to Tajpur, as region between Mandarmoni and Tajpur was flooded by water. Turning back was the last option for us, so we asked him for an exit route. He said about taking a narrow lane from the end of Mandarmoni into a village, then walking to a ghat called “Kheya ghat” (Ferry bank), crossing the creek into “char” island  (island made of silt when freshwater meets saltwater), then crossing another creek to reach the other side and finally reaching the mainland at Deuli-bangla. We blinked at him in disbelief.

    So dad started walking along the lane into the village, I followed him. The trail was rocky and I was hitting a stone at every few steps. The sun went down and we didn’t even have a flashlight. I tried using my tablet for navigation maps, but the map was blank in this region. The stars and common sense made better sense here. We trudged along in the dark, asking the villagers for directions. They told us to walk through a field and a small wood until we saw a tubewell and take a right turn from there. And so we both scurried along. I was a little nervous about falling into a pothole or getting bitten by a snake in the dark but I had little choice. We just kept moving along. I saw a man standing silently like what seemed to be a ghost/spirit. I was just staring at him and didn’t notice my surroundings. In the process, I almost tripped over a string. Then the man yelled, “Damn it, you just stepped on my marking rope.” I apologised. Then we saw that the track bifurcated into two distinct trails, one straight, one towards the right. I asked the guy for directions, he said that either way will lead to the destination, which put us off and we felt like turning back. Fortunately, another guy pulling a cart came along and he was heading towards the ghat and offered to lead us along. So we followed him on the trail towards the right. We felt lucky that he had a flashlight and we could see where we were going. Then he felt like stopping for a break. Me and dad had no time to wait, so we bade him goodbye and he gave us directions to reach the tubewell. And so we went into another wood, wandering around in the wrong paths. Finally, we managed to reach the tubewell the villagers had mentioned.


    There were villagers sitting around the tubewell. Some of them were warming themselves in the fire they had lit nearby. We asked them directions to reach “Kheya ghat”. A lady pointed towards the bank and told us to hurry up lest the boats stop ferrying. We both ran towards the bank and stood at the edge. But no, there were no boats in sight. Dad turned to me and sighed, “There aren’t any boats here. We need to turn back.” I replied, “Well, there’s no point turning back. We might get lost. Its better if we spend the night here.” We looked at each other, perplexed. Just then, a small boat was coming towards the bank. We waved at the boatman and he waved back at us. What a relief! Finally he anchored his boat to the bank. We boarded the boat and asked the man to ferry us to the island. He started to row, and the water current made the travel wobbly. My dad asked the boatman about the place, creek and all. What we came to know was that the area was a colony of fishermen and the creek and other brackish water bodies bore fishes. Fish was the primary source of livelihood in this area. In 10 minutes or so, we reached the island. We sat down on a bench to rest for a while.

    The island was indeed fully a fishing colony and fishermen were busy chatting. We asked them directions to the mainland, and one of them said, “Either you take a boat to another bank and then board an engine rickshaw to Balisai, or you can walk along the bank, cross a bamboo bridge to a village and walk the way to Deuli-bangla. Both will take the same amount of time to hit the road.” So we both began walking. Being in the night without a lamp or flashlight is not a joke, so we started entering the inhabitants’ territories without even knowing what was really going on. Thank lord the people are considerate enough or else we’d have been prosecuted for trespassing (haha!). We walked by huts, tripped over nets and walked by places where fish were left to dry. You know, “shutki maach” (dry fish) making fields stink way too much. We roamed around for a while aimlessly until we reached the bank. Then we started to walk along the bank. Again the trail was so rough, I started to slip over pebbles and stones. Soon enough came a bamboo bridge. The bridge was weak and shaky and I needed to get on all fours once in a while to stop the shaking lest it breaks. We crossed it. Another bamboo bridge was on the way, but this time it was a stronger one so we could walk on it properly. After crossing it, we paid the toll for crossing it as the bridge was a personal property of one villager (Good to see someone maintaining a bridge. A better option than boarding several boats.) We asked the villager directions to Deuli-bangla and he told us to walk straight for another 3 kms. We walked for a while. The breeze was cool and the weather was pleasant, more like the rainy season than winter. We stopped to take a few photos, but the surroundings were too dark. I flipped out my tablet and launched maps. We were indeed on the right track. We were in a village close to Tajpur and Deuli was not very far away. We began walking again. We passed though a very alive village. Families were talking and watching TV. We could hear the sound of popular Bengali soap operas and some cricket commentary. Then we walked by a school. I began to feel hungry. Luckily a store was close by so I went to it, bought snacks and began to munch. Then we walked until we reached the road side at Deuli-bangla. We sat down at the bus stop waiting for a bus.

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    Dad: “This wasn’t bad, was it?”
    Me: “If you ask me, it was pretty good.”
    Dad: “Getting lost in a forest is still better than rotting at home, right? So what did we learn from this long exercise?”
    Me: “Your friend told you a lie.”
    Dad: “Pfftt..”

    And we munched on more snacks and laughed…

    Click here to see our walk on Google Maps.

  10. Meeting Mary Kom and Sushmita Sen

    December 19, 2013 by Sunit Nandi

    Sometimes certain things happen out of the blue. My dad had told me from beforehand that on 15th of this month, Dalmia Bharat Cement alongwith Sushmita Sen (former Miss Universe and current Bollywood actress) were launching the book “Unbreakable” by Mary Kom (female Indian boxer) in Assam and the North-East India. The event was to take place at IIT Guwahati prior to the Inter-IIT sports meet opening ceremony. But, I wasn’t really expecting what it actually turned out to be.

    15th came. I was learning Python at dad’s workplace. Suddenly dad bursts into the room and hurriedly takes me home at 1 PM. After a really quick lunch me, mom and dad hurries off to the open-air stage in the cricket field. With dad being a faculty, we were sitting in the VIP zone.

    First the announcer greeted the crowd, followed by the usual oohs and aahs. Then comes in Sushmita Sen and cracks a couple of jokes with the crowd. Mary Kom is then called in and together they give a synopsis of the book. This was followed by Mary Kom who narrated her struggle in the boxing career, albeit in broken English. This was followed by a speech by the CEO of Dalmia Cement.

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    After that, the people on the stage wore golden coloured gloves and broke down a cardboard punching bag, out of which two copies of Mary’s book fell out. In this manner the book was launched. This was followed by signing and distributing copies to everyone present on the stage.


    Finally Mary and Sushmita come down from the stage to greet the crowd. I get this opportunity and stand really close to both of them. Before I could really speak to them, the insane press people break the bounds and come into the VIP area. Some even jumped over the fence. Before I could think or decide anything, I was squashed in the crowd. The press guys surrounded them from all sides. Some guys even stood up on the chairs and some even dirtied the sofa with their shoes. Watching the sheer craze, it felt like some sale was going on. Needless to say I was stuck. Now don’t ask why I was not able to take photos with either of them. Sushmita is rather talkative and really good in public speaking. She started to deliver a long lecture to the media about Mary’s twins and Mary’s projects for the underprivileged.

    After that, me and my parents headed to see the newly constructed indoor badminton court being inaugurated by Mary Kom. It was here that I actually got to speak to her a bit and shake hands with her. Mary toured the court. In the meanwhile Sushmita got into a BMW SUV, waved at everyone and then left the spot. Finally, the everyone moved on to the spot where the remaining events were taking place.

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    Finally, we had the opening ceremony of the Inter-IIT sports meet, which I’m going to describe later. The fireworks at the end of the day were indeed beautiful.

    Anyway, seeing Mary and Sushmita together, and that too so closely in person, is something not less than a lifetime experience. What do you say?